Practice report: Brewer back, Camby out

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Ronnie Brewer practiced Wednesday for the first time with the Knicks, about five weeks since having surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee.

The coaching staff slowly pushed Brewer during practice to prevent any additional injury, allowing him to only take part in the two-hour conditioning session.

"I just wanted to get his feet wet," Mike Woodson said after practice. "It will be interesting to see how he is tomorrow and how he's feeling. It's a journey coming off a knee injury. The doctors know best in terms of the severity of it and today was a positive step for him."

Brewer, who signed with the Knicks in July, said his knee was pain-free and his No. 1 goal is to get back into game shape.

"It's been feeling pretty good," he said. "I've been trying to do conditioning on it on the side [court] with our trainers. It's a lot different speed when you're going through the drills with the team. I have to get my rhythm back. The knee feels great and I'm excited to be out here."

Reflecting on the offseason injury, Brewer said he noticed something was up after his knee swelled up one day. He thought he had a bone bump or bruise, but he had no idea he would have to go under the knife. In fact, he continued to play.

"I didn't even know I was injured," he said. "I had been working out in Arkansas with a daily routine of lifting, conditioning, getting up shots and pickup games. [Assistant] coach Darrell Walker came down to work out with me. My knee was swelling. I told him and he told me to call the Knicks' trainers, and they got me up to New York the next day to look at it and found out I had a torn meniscus.

"I assume I got it from jumping or cutting or working out. It didn't stop me from working out. If it was up to me, I probably wouldn't have had surgery and probably would have played through it. The Knicks were trying to be safe."

Brewer said he would love to play in the team's final four preseason games, but Woodson hasn't made any guarantees about Friday's game in Montreal against the Raptors. He'll further evaluate on Thursday.

Either way, it's likely that Brewer will be the starting shooting guard on opening night against the Nets for his defense. During media day, Carmelo Anthony called Brewer the biggest "under-the-radar pickup," and Tyson Chandler knows the new Knick is going to be a big help to him on the perimeter.

"When I have a guy that can roam and guy that can shut down his guy," the center said, "I know most likely he's not going to be beat as much, and I can concentrate my focus around the rest of the floor. He's big and strong, and can keep guys out of the paint."

SIDELINE NOTES: J.R. Smith (sore left ankle), Marcus Camby (left calf strain) and Rasheed Wallace all missed practice Wednesday. Here are Woodson's updates on each player:

On Smith, who was walking around in a boot: "His ankle is sore. We just have to watch him."

On Camby, who was mostly putting up shots and free throws: "He's still with the medical staff. There's no need to rush him. We just want to make sure that when we put him back out on the floor, he's ready to go."

On Wallace, who was mostly working on his balance using an exercise ball: "If we think he's ready, we will definitely have him scrimmage. There's a chance he could possibly go next week, based on my conversations with the doctors. I'll have to wait and see when we get back Monday."

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