Source: Amare could return this weekend

Amid widespread speculation about Amare Stoudemire's return from a back injury, a source close to the New York Knicks veteran power forward said Stoudemire may return later this week.

Stoudemire will not play on Tuesday against Boston and is unlikely to play on Wednesday in New Jersey. But there is a possibility that he returns to the team later this weekend, either Friday night against Cleveland or Sunday against Atlanta, according to the source.

"It's a possibility," the source said.

The team would like to see Stoudemire improve his conditioning and test his injury in a game setting before he suits up. Stoudemire was able to do that in practice on Saturday, scrimmaging 4-on-4 with his teammates.

He may have another opportunity to scrimmage on Thursday before the Knicks travel to Cleveland.

Stoudemire had previously been working out and shooting before games with assistant coach Kenny Atkinson. Thursday's workout was his first with teammates since he last played on March 24. He left that night's game against Detroit with back pain, which was later diagnosed as a bulging disk in his lower back.

Stoudemire had an epidural shot to relieve the pain on March 29. The team originally said he'd be out two to four weeks. Thursday was two weeks from the day of the shot.

The Knicks have gone 7-4 in Stoudemire's absence. Jeremy Lin has been out over the same stretch of games due to a meniscus tear in his knee.

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