Kidd: Stoudemire is 'close' to returning

It's the lingering question on the minds of most Knicks fans: when will Amar'e Stoudemire be back?

According to teammate Jason Kidd, it looks like Stoudemire will return by the end of the month.Listen to the complete interview:

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"I think Amar'e's close (to returning)," Kidd said on Wednesday during an interview on "The Michael Kay Show." "I don’t want to say something and be wrong. I think he's very close to around the corner to getting involved and playing, so maybe at the end of this month."

Stoudemire went through a strenuous shooting workout before the game on Tuesday night and appeared to be in great shape.

However, there is still no timetable for his return, and Woodson said Stoudemire still needs to be cleared by team doctors to practice.

His original timetable for return from Nov. 1 surgery on his left knee was 6-8 weeks. So a return by the end of December would fall within that range.

If Stoudemire were to return to the practice floor in the coming days, there would be plenty of opportunity for him to scrimmage with his teammates. The Knicks are home for the next 11 days during their six-game homestand.

But, according to Mike Woodson, Stoudemire had yet to be cleared by team doctors as of Tuesday.

"He's still working," the coach said after Tuesday morning's shootaround. "We've got to get some practice time under our belt for him before he actually decides what he wants to do. At this point, it's still in the doctor's hands and Amar'e's hands."

BACK'S 'FINE', J.R. TWEETS: J.R. Smith was walking gingerly out of the Knicks locker room after suffering a back injury in the Knicks' win over the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

He was with the Knicks at the team's training facility on Wednesday and his back isn't believed to be an issue that will keep him out of Thursday's game, according to a league source.

Smith wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon that he was "fine" and "getting ready for the game tomorrow."

In the fourth quarter against the Nets, Mike Woodson asked Smith if wanted to be removed from the game in the fourth quarter due his back ailment but Smith, to his credit, insisted on staying in.

"That says a lot," Woodson said. "These guys want to win."

Smith helped the Knicks come up with several defensive stops in the quarter, as the Nets went 0-for-6 from beyond the arc and missed nine of 14 shots.

Smith also made the pass before the pass that set up Jason Kidd's game-winning three-pointer.