Amar'e Stoudemire has no timetable for his playoff return from right knee debridement, which has prevented him from playing since early March. But even with the Knicks missing his newer low-post moves and improved weak-side defense for likely the entire first-round series against the Celtics, the power forward isn't worried.
In fact, he has a guarantee to make.
"We're going to win that first round for sure," he said on Thursday night in New York City during a screening of his upcoming EPIX documentary, "Amar’e Stoudemire: In The Moment," which premieres on April 19. "Obviously, as we all know, with the Celtics, you can never underestimate those guys. We've got to definitely come to play every game, and bring that focus and determination every single night. I have high confidence in what we can do."
Commenting further on his comeback, Stoudemire was vague saying, "Stay tuned."
But he did mention that he's "doing everything" to get back healthier, even turning more to a newer vegan diet. While he's been frustrated going through yet another injury in his career -- he's had about seven; mostly knee-related -- he said he feels "phenomenal" knowing that he's making progress. He was on the court Thursday at the Knicks' training facility going through some running, shooting and walkthrough drills with his teammates.
Before Stoudemire went down in March, he had been averaging 14.2 points on 57.7 percent shooting in only 23 minutes of action. He was so efficient offensively that he had a 10-for-10 and 9-for-10 field-goal performance in February.
Once he officially suits up again, he's open to whatever role the team needs because he doesn't want to disrupt what Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and the rest of the guys have going on. The two biggest areas where he can assist are: making an immediate offensive impact down low -- much needed with the team's frontcourt hurting recently and their focus on defense; and two, protecting the basket when Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin are helping out on pick-and-rolls, which they're better suited at than Stoudemire.
"At this point, it's just a matter of getting back out there and applying whatever the team needs, because they're playing extremely well at this point," STAT said. "I look at it, my job is just to get out there and apply whatever we need, fill whatever gap if there is a gap. Just to get out there and do whatever it takes to win, that's what my mindset is.
"As I sit back and watch the year Melo is having and J.R. Smith and those guys, it motivates me more to want to heal up to get back to help them to get over the hump."
Not only is Stoudemire a big believer in the Knicks over the Celtics, but he also envisions a local celebration in June. That wasn't the case in his first Knicks season in 2010-11, as the supporting cast was mostly weaker, and in the following season because of the lockout. But entering last fall, they had a full training camp, and added more star and veteran power.
"I think we have a great chance to win the title," Stoudemire said. 'We have a great leader in Carmelo, we have a great team that's surrounding him, so we like our chances."
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