Raymond Felton aiming for Saturday

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton, who's missed roughly the past five weeks with a broken right pinkie, is optimistic he'll return on Saturday in Philadelphia.

"Big chance, big chance, but I can't speak on that. That's not my decision to make," he said. "If it's up to me, I'd play in Boston, but they're not going to let me do it because there's a possible chance if I break it again, I'll be out two months because they're going to have to go in and have surgery on it. So it's tough.

"Everybody looks at it as a little pinkie, all that, he shouldn't be out, but I fractured that pinkie in three places."

During Tuesday's practice, Felton took another significant step in his return from the injury, suffered on Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Lakers.

With just a wrap on his finger, the point guard hoisted jump shots around the arc before participating in conditioning drills.

"I feel good," he said afterward. "I can practice without putting a brace on my hand. ... Basically, I can use my right hand again."

Felton will be needed to relieve playmaking pressure off his teammates. J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony have been asked to run more pick-and-rolls. Anthony, especially, was effective in Monday's loss to the Nets.
Out of the nine pick-and-roll plays he facilitated, the Knicks scored nine points, shooting 50 percent.

But Anthony's teammates noticed the extra ball-handling wore him down. He only had two points in the fourth quarter -- off free throws -- and missed a key jumper with 11 seconds remaining that would've given the Knicks the 86-85 lead. In addition, Jason Kidd has been affected by extended minutes in Felton's absence.

"We missed (Felton) a lot," Mike Woodson said. "He's a big part of the puzzle. We didn't bring Kidd in to play 30-plus minutes a game. I know Jason's giving us all he can give us, and I'm wearing him down. I've got to get Raymond back eventually, but then, two, I've got to be open-minded about Raymond's finger."

"Raymond's going to help us a lot," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "He helps with the offense and really facilitating the plays. We get into our offensive schemes a lot sooner. He also brings a lot of up-tempo style to the game, where we can have some more fast-break points out there on the court."

Felton said the past month has been a "painful" and "terrifying" time.

"This is the longest I've ever been out for an injury ever in my career," he said, "so it's been tough mentally for me, but I've been fighting through and making sure I'm staying in shape."

Jared Zwerling is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.