Woody: Sheed about to start scrimmaging

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- For the past two days of training camp, Rasheed Wallace has been mostly shooting on a side court by himself or working on the pick-and-pop with Iman Shumpert.

That will change in the next day or two. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said after practice on Friday that Wallace, the recently unretired 15-year veteran, will start scrimmaging for the first time with the team.

"We're just gradually bringing him along," Woody said. "The fact that he's been out for a few years, we just don't want to push the issue. We've got to do some things from a medical and strength and conditioning standpoint to make sure when he hits the floor, he's ready to go."

Earlier this week, Wallace signed a non-guaranteed, one-year contract for $1.7 million. That means he's technically a training camp invite and if he does make the team -- the Knicks have two guaranteed roster spots to fill -- he would earn that full amount, even if they cut him during the season.

The best-case scenario for Wallace is becoming Amare Stoudemire's consistent backup. As a versatile and defensive-minded stretch four, Wallace brings a little bit of everything, including intangibles such as toughness and intimidation. After having played for Woodson in Detroit, where they won a title together in 2004, and now being around many seasoned vets, Wallace should have no problem getting motivated.

But will he have the stamina to keep up after being out of the game for two years? A source close to the Knicks said that won't happen until further along in the season, but that's why the team is intrigued: They expect him to be effective in the second half of the schedule and come crucial playoff time, which Wallace has experienced for basically his entire career.

Interestingly, if Wallace becomes a permanent Knick, he'll be playing across the East River from the Brooklyn Nets' Jerry Stackhouse. They led the North Carolina Tar Heels to the 1995 NCAA Final Four.

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"We're monitoring him," Woodson said. "I'm not pushing them. Marcus gave us four solid days and I pulled him back today. J.R. [Smith] was back. STAT kind of went down a little bit, but he went through most of practice. So we're just watching everybody closely, making sure we keep healthy bodies around. That's what it's all about at this point."

Speaking of Stoudemire, Woodson said it was nothing to worry about, nothing that "he's probably in the best shape of anybody out on the floor."

Woodson said he dedicated the first three days of training camp to conditioning, and used Friday to implement some halfcourt offensive and defensive sets.

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