GREENBURGH, NY -- Tyson Chandler's over the strep throat that was bothering him earlier in the week and he's no longer playing with a brace on his injured knee.
In other words, Chandler, arguably the Knicks most important player, is at 100% for the first time this season.
"(I'm) feeling good," he said after Friday morning's shootaround. "I got to practice a couple days without the brace and also get my wind back together."
Chandler's health is vital for the Knicks.
By most defensive metrics, the team was in the bottom five in the league on defense in 2010-11, the year before Chandler arrived in New York. They finished last season ranked fifth in defensive efficiency, a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions, thanks mostly to Chandler.
The Knicks have been dominant on defense early in the season. They're holding opponents to 40 percent shooting and to just 85.3 points per game during their 3-0 start. They're also tied for 2nd in defensive efficiency, a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions.
Chandler's been a driving force behind that, but he's been limited to 24.7 minutes per game, 11 fewer than he averaged last year. The Knicks, of course, have blown their first three opponents out, so Chandler's had time to sit.
But Woodson said Chandler would be available to play more minutes on Friday against Dallas, if necessary.
"His (practice) workload was high," Woodson said. "He’s good to go."
LINEUP SHIFT? Woodson said he'd probably go with the same starting lineup he's used in the Knicks first three games on Friday night. The Knicks have gone with a small starting five in the first three games, opening with Ray Felton and Jason Kidd in the back court with Ronnie Brewer at small forward, Carmelo Anthony at power forward and Chandler at center.
Woodson said he may change his mind and go with a bigger lineup on Friday, depending on what the Mavericks do. If they start Elton Brand and Chris Kaman, maybe Woodson starts one of his veteran bigs at power forward and slides Anthony back to the small forward. In that instance, Kidd would likely come off of the bench.
BOX OUT! The Knicks have been nearly flawless in their first three games. They're trying to go 4-0 for the first time since 1993-94 when they take on the Mavs Friday. But if there's one thing Woodson wants to see his team improve on Friday, it's rebounding.
The Knicks are getting outrebounded by an average of four boards per night. This can partly be attributed to the Knicks having less opportunities to get rebounds. But they are tied for 20th in rebounding rate, a stat that tracks the percentage of misses a team rebounds.
Woodson said on Friday morning that his guys can do a better job of boxing out.
"We (have to) start putting bodies on people because right now we're not doing that," Woodson said. "That's the only thing I do see that we've got to clean up. We've got to rebound the basketball a little bit better."