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Knicks targeting Game 3 return for Amar’e Stoudemire

May 5, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

New York Knicks' Stoudemire celebrates a basket against the Charlotte Bobcats during their NBA basketball game in New York Reuters

Amar’e Stoudemire has been out of the Knicks lineup since undergoing knee surgery in early March.

The timetable for his return was said to be up to eight weeks, and should his rehabilitation continue to progress, we could see him as scheduled, and early as Game 3 of New York’s second round playoff series against the Pacers.

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said Stoudemire has already been ruled out for the first two games of the series, which begins on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Woodson said Stoudemire will scrimmage with his teammates on Thursday. If his knee responds well, he will scrimmage again on Friday.

“If he feels fine after Friday, then I think we will play him Saturday,” Woodson said.

Some have expressed concern over how Stoudemire would fit into the Knicks’ lineup. New York finished the regular season 17-6 with Stoudemire out and won its first-round series against Boston without him.

At this stage of the playoffs, getting healthy bodies back in your rotation is definitely a positive, and team chemistry is never so fragile that a player like Stoudemire can’t be returned somewhat seamlessly if he’s indeed healthy enough to contribute.

Woodson has already said that he wouldn’t hesitate to play Stoudemire as soon as he’s ready. With that time rapidly approaching, Knicks fans are going to have to trust that Woodson knows best, and that he’ll monitor both Stoudemire and his team’s rotations closely upon reinserting him back into the postseason lineup.

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