Raymond Felton cleared for contact

BOSTON -- Raymond Felton of the New York Knicks has been cleared to take full contact in practice on Friday, a significant hurdle in his attempt to return from a fractured right pinkie.

It will be Felton's first full practice since he suffered the injury on Christmas. He hopes to return to the floor on Saturday against Philadelphia.

"It's been feeling good," Felton said of his pinkie, which he says was fractured in three places. "The biggest test will be (Friday)."

Felton likely won't know his status for the Sixers game until just before tipoff.

The 28-year-old point guard is itching to get back, but wants to be cautious with the injury. He has been told that if he breaks the pinkie again, he would need surgery, which he estimates would sideline him for the remainder of the season.

"If I have to sit out another two games and come back at home. If that's what it takes, then that's what I have to do," Felton said.

The Knicks have struggled without Felton. Entering play Thursday, the Knicks had lost six of 11 since he went down.

The offense has become more isolation-heavy and less reliant on pick-and-rolls, a staple of the Knicks' attack earlier in the season.

Felton added that the bone bruises in his left and right hand, which he'd been playing with earlier in the season, have been "feeling good" -- an ancillary benefit of the injury.

He also said he is in excellent physical condition thanks to all of the running he's done while hurt.