Camby out seven to 10 days with injury

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Backup center Marcus Camby has a strained left calf and will be out of action for seven to 10 days, the Knicks announced Saturday.

Camby, 38, missed practice on Friday with what was called a sore left calf. An MRI taken after revealed the strain.

It's likely he will miss the Knicks' first two preseason games on Oct. 11 and 13 against the Wizards and Celtics, respectively.

"Injuries creep in and he'll bounce back. It's not a career-ending injury," coach Mike Woodson said after practice on Saturday. "I'm not looking for Marcus to play 30 minutes a game anymore, so if we can just keep him healthy enough to give us some productive minutes -- if it's two, three, four minutes -- that's going to be a plus for our ballclub."

The Knicks not only have depth at basically every position (the four spot is the most lacking), but many of the players can switch to different positions. When Camby misses some preseason action, Woodson can experiment with that versatility.

"I like that," the coach said. "That's kind of the team that we put together in Atlanta, where we had same-size guys that were versatile, that could play a number of positions. These guys are veteran guys and we've got a good group where we can mix and toss a little bit in terms of how we play, which is kind of nice."

Amare Stoudemire (sore left ankle) and Chris Smith (sore left knee) were out of Saturday's practice at the team's training facility. Rasheed Wallace spent some of the day doing balance testing, but he didn't scrimmage.

"He's not ready yet," Woodson said after practice. "It's about conditioning. He's just not there where we want him to be in terms of putting him on the floor. But he'll get there."

Woodson said he was pushing the team during the first few days of training camp with conditioning drills, lasting three hours (there have been no two-a-days; just team meetings at night). Now, he's moving toward implementing offensive and defensive sets.

"We're starting to scale back a little bit and start to teach and put in some offensive sets," he said. "We had a nice skull session today offensively. It's the first time we really talked offense. Everything has pretty much been defense.

"The scrimmage, I thought, went extremely well. We played 18 minutes of a scrimmage and there was 35 points put on the board, so that shows me they kind of picked up the offense right way, which was kind of nice."

Woodson said Sunday will be a "slow day" with more instruction, and to allow the players to get their legs back under them. Then they'll go hard again on Monday. But even with the ease-off on running and increase in teaching, Woodson still knows he has to more careful with the older veterans.

"These guys are older, and I've got to be a little more privy to how I push them in terms of practice," he said after practice on Thursday. "But for the most part, they've been hanging in there and doing everything I've asked them to do."

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