Opening Tip: Should Amar'e play hurt?

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Should Amar'e Stoudemire play on Tuesday if his knee is still bothering him?

Shortly after practicing with his teammates for the first time in more than two months on Sunday, Amar'e Stoudemire said he feels only 80 percent healthy because of lingering soreness in his knee.

The star forward hopes to improve markedly over the next two days so he can play Tuesday against Portland. But even if he doesn't get there, he's willing to play hurt to help out the banged-up Knicks.

Stoudemire should be commended for sacrificing his health for the team. But there's no need to put him out there if he's nowhere near 100 percent.

The Knicks, it's worth noting, are 21-9 and humming along without Stoudemire. So why force Stoudemire back when he's still admittedly feeling soreness in his knee?

The Knicks have waited two months for their $100 million forward. In the grand scheme of an 82-game season, it doesn't really matter if he plays on Tuesday against Portland or Thursday against San Antonio. Or, heaven forbid, Saturday at Orlando.

It's more important to have Stoudemire at full health in April, when the Knicks hope to be gearing up for a playoff run.

Stoudemire acknowledged as much on Sunday when he said, "I have to make sure I stay patient ... because the most important months are March and April, going to the postseason."

Exactly. Which is why there's no need to force it on Tuesday.

Unless he somehow wakes up Tuesday morning feeling close to 100 percent, Stoudemire should sit against Portland.

It's more important to have him healthy for a seven-game series against Miami than Game No. 31 of the regular season.

QUESTION: What do you think? Should Stoudemire play on Tuesday if he isn't anywhere near 100 percent?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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