Coach's report: Copeland to start at center

The Knicks are so short-handed in the frontcourt that during Thursday morning's shootaround at the United Center, Mike Woodson had to call on his video coordinator to be the 10th man on the court. Chris Copeland will get his first start at center on Thursday night.

Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin, the two most recent players to suffer setbacks, didn't travel and there are no timetables for their return. Woodson said Chandler still has some soreness in his neck, but Martin is feeling better.

"He's still day to day," he said. "All we can do is patiently wait. Kenyon was a lot better today. He's back at home getting treatment."

ONCE A KNICK, ALWAYS A KNICK? There were reports on Wednesday that the Knicks would cut Kurt Thomas to sign James Singleton to shore up their depleted frontline. But Woodson downplayed that idea.

"We haven't made any moves," he said. "Right now, it's just an in-house matter."

However, Woodson and Carmelo Anthony took time to reflect on Thomas' impact on the team. They both credited Thomas for helping the Knicks beat the Jazz on March 18, which started their winning streak.

"That game in Utah that Kurt won for us really turned the ship around for us," Melo said. "For him to go out there and be playing on a fractured foot, and do the things that he did for that game to help us win that game on the road, he helped us right that ship. ... I don't think he gets enough credit for that."

SHUMP'S RETURN: While Derrick Rose remains sidelined, his fellow Chicagoan Iman Shumpert returns to his hometown steadily improving defensively and as a 3-point shooter. Woodson shared his impressions of Shump's growth this season.

"He's getting better," the coach said. "He's injury-free, but from a basketball point, he just doesn't have enough reps under his belt. ... Right now, he's playing on the fly because we don't practice a lot to teach, to show him. He's learning a lot through tape. ... I just need him to be nastier on the defensive end. That's where he made his statement last year I thought."

BEATING THE BULLS: The Bulls are the only Eastern Conference team the Knicks haven't defeated yet (0-3). In fact, the Knicks have dropped seven of their last eight meetings against Chicago since 2010-11.

Anthony and J.R. Smith are a combined 41-for-108 from the field (37.9 percent) against the Bulls this season.

"Against Chicago, against Boston, against Indiana, you have to make shots," Melo said. "They want you to shoot outside shots, they want you to shoot the 3. If you're not making those shots, it makes it a tough game because you have to adjust on the fly."

Woodson said the Knicks must stay focused against the physical Bulls.

"We got into a shoving match and I think we kind of lost our composure against this team," he said. "I thought we played them well here the first go-around early in the season, but the two times in our building, it was a disaster."

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