If Tyson can go, he'll start vs. Heat

MIAMI -- Tyson Chandler is a game-time decision for Tuesday night's showdown against the Miami Heat.

Chandler, who's averaging 10.7 points and 11 rebounds, has missed the past 10 games with a small bulging disk in his neck.

"We're going to find out after shootaround," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said at the American Airlines Arena. "He worked a little bit yesterday back home, was on the floor playing a little one-on-one, so we're going to test him again today and see what he's got. Then, he'll let us know.

"A lot of it is just how he feels and make sure there are no setbacks there after we're done shooting here. And if he tells me he's ready to go, then we're going to put him back in there."

If Chandler can go, Woodson plans to insert him back at starting center and likely use Kenyon Martin, who's replaced him in the first five, as the backup big man. The coach also plans to play them together at times.

"You don't lose your starting job because of injuries," Woodson said. "He's a big part of the puzzle."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra commented on the potential return of Chandler, who has helped lead the Knicks to a 2-1 record against the Heat this season: "He played the last time we played them, and that's the most important thing," Spoelstra said. "We've seen him enough that we know how much of an impact he has on their offense. He's such a great screener, roller to the rim. That creates a lot of opportunities for the pick-and-roll game."

Another reason why Woodson envisions Martin off the bench is because of Carmelo Anthony's value at power forward.

"Based on longevity and in terms of how we've played with Melo at the 4, we've been pretty good," Woodson said.

While the Heat have an NBA-best 32-3 record at home, the Knicks are currently on a league-high eight-game winning streak.

"They're an explosive offensive team and they move the ball as well anybody in the league, and so they're a challenge," Spoelstra said. "And dealing with those pick-and-rolls and the spacing -- the way that ball pops around the perimeter -- our guys have to be absolutely committed to the energy, but also to the focus."