He didn't say yes, and he didn't say no.
New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson was asked on Tuesday in New Orleans if injured Amar'e Stoudemire would return to the lineup as a starter.
Woodson, according to reports, declined to answer the question.
“I’m going to address that when we get to that point," Woodson said at New Orleans Arena. “Right now I’m just taking it a day at a time and work the guys we have in uniform."
Woodson can choose to address the issue at a later date. That's certainly his right.
But the fact that he didn't commit to Stoudemire as a starter certainly raises questions as to how STAT will be used when he completes his rehab from left knee surgery.
He is expected to return between by late December.
In the past, Woodson has said no player loses his starting spot due to injury, leading some to believe that Stoudemire will return to the Knicks' starting five.
But there's speculation over Stoudemire coming back as a reserve because of how well the Knicks are playing and how much Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have struggled to develop cohesion.
The Knicks have a losing record with both Stoudemire and Anthony in the lineup. Anthony is playing extremely well at power forward so far this season.
According to reports, Woodson defended his coaching record with Anthony and Stoudemire in the lineup. The Knicks went 6-1 with Stoudemire, Anthony and Jeremy Lin in the lineup after Woodson took over last season.
“Is it an overall losing record with me as a head coach?" Woodson asked. “I can’t think about what happened before I took over. As a coach, I feel good about both of them playing on the floor at the same time. That’s not going to change."
There are several benefits to bringing Stoudemire off the bench:
1. Separating Stoudemire and Anthony could be a good thing. Both players seem to operate best in the same space (midpost to the elbow). Anthony thrives in isolation and Stoudemire is at his best in a more wide-open attack.
2. Stoudemire should have more opportunities in the pick-and-roll coming off the bench. As a starter, Stoudemire often was not the primary screener on the pick-and-roll because that role belonged to Tyson Chandler. But if Stoudemire is on the floor and Chandler is on the bench, it would allow Stoudemire to be the screener on the pick-and-roll, a role that he thrived in with Steve Nash in Phoenix and Raymond Felton in New York. Stoudemire also could have more opportunities in the post when he's not on the floor with Chandler.