Coach's report: Thomas 'on schedule'

MIAMI -- Most of the Knicks' injury talk has centered on Tyson Chandler, who missed 10 straight games with a bulging disk in his neck. But the Knicks have another banged-up big man who can be useful down the stretch this season and in the playoffs, especially if they run into the bigger-sized Pacers or Bulls.

Kurt Thomas has reached two weeks' time since a stress fracture occurred in his right foot. His recovery timetable was two to four weeks, and Mike Woodson offered an optimistic outlook.

"He hasn't had any setbacks, so I've got to think he's on schedule," the coach said before shootaround at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Rasheed Wallace remains sidelined with no timetable for a return, as he's recovering from a broken bone in his left foot. His former Pistons teammate Tayshaun Prince, who keeps in touch with Wallace "all the time," painted a bleaker picture about Sheed's return.

"I don't know if he'll be able to get back, but I know if he has a chance, he'll try," the Grizzlies forward told ESPNNewYork.com by phone on Tuesday.

MELO'S "CAREER YEAR": That's how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sees it. Here's his breakdown of Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks:

"They play with a great deal of space and Anthony's having a career year, there's no question about it. It's tough to get to him with your help defense with the way they space the floor. They've dealt with a lot of injuries, so I think they've done a real admirable job of holding fort, but then also finding ways to win when you've got guys out. That speaks to the veteran team that they have and the coaching."

PLAYOFF VIBE: Chandler might not play tonight and the Heat will be without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers. But both sides know the matchup, which features the top two seeds in the East, will be nothing short of a playoff environment.

"Absolutely," Woodson said. "I mean, anytime you play the best team in the basketball, it's going to be that way. I wouldn't expect it to be any different than it's been the three previous games that we've played them."

Said Chris Bosh, "New York-Miami, you just can't beat that. I remember watching that as a kid. That never goes anywhere, especially with them being No. 2 in the East and everything. This is a big game for them; this is a big game for us because we can continue to create separation between us and the rest of the league."

Bosh provided his perspective on the Knicks, who are currently on an NBA-best eight-game winning streak.

"They're picking it back up," he said. "I know that they had a period where it really got rough with injuries and it was just a tough part of the season -- just like everybody in the league. I'm sure they're really feeling the postseason coming in. They want to turn it up a lot more to where they feel comfortable going into the playoffs. They want to play at a high level and they're playing very well right now."

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