Davis might return to practice next week

The Knicks hope Baron Davis can return to the practice court as early as next week.

Mike D'Antoni said Sunday that the best-case scenario is for Davis to return to contact drills, which presumably would include five-on-five scrimmages, next Monday.

"I don't know how he feels exactly … but the best-case scenario is next week he starts getting into contact," the coach said.

The timetable for Davis' return to the court remains late January or early February.

On the day he agreed to a deal with the Knicks, Davis said the herniated disk in his back could sideline him 8-10 weeks.

But, at the time, a source close to Davis told ESPNNewYork.com that 8-10 weeks is a conservative estimate and, if his rehabilitation goes well, Davis could return in 4-6 weeks "if not sooner."

If Davis returns by late January, it would be roughly six weeks since he was acquired by the Knicks.

The Knicks signed Davis to a veteran's minimum contract after he was released by the Cleveland Cavaliers via the amnesty clause.

It will be interesting to see how Davis fits into the Knicks' backcourt. The Knicks began the season with Toney Douglas at point guard but have since started rookie Iman Shumpert at the position and, due to injury, Mike Bibby on Saturday night.

"Well, we'll have a little adjustment phase [when Davis comes back] but we're adjusting with a really good point guard, so that's an adjustment we'll make readily," D'Antoni said.

GUARDING DWIGHT: D'Antoni said the Knicks will primarily rely on Tyson Chandler to guard Dwight Howard on Monday, while occasionally double-teaming the Magic center.

But D'Antoni doesn't want to double team Howard at the expense of the Knicks' perimeter defense.

Orlando is shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, the third-highest percentage in the league.

Howard is averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds, shooting 58 percent from the floor. He set an NBA regular season record with 39 free throws last week against Golden State.

"You've got to throw the kitchen sink at him," D'Antoni said.

TURNOVERS "KILLING" THE KNICKS: The Knicks are averaging 16.2 turnovers per game, the fifth-worst total in the NBA. They had 18 and 20 in blowout losses last week to Memphis and Oklahoma City.

"That's killing us right now, and that's not being familiar with what we're doing, and with each other, a rookie running the point guard … there's a lot of little things that we have to work through, and we'll advance it forward," D'Antoni said.

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