Woody: Bargnani still battling pneumonia

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- On Wednesday, Mike Woodson confirmed that new Knick Andrea Bargnani is still battling a health condition and might not play for the Italian national team this summer.

"He has pneumonia, so we've got to be cautious of that and make sure that we nurse him back before we put him back out on the basketball floor," Woodson said. "We're still trying to make sure he's healthy before he gets back out on the floor, and right now he's not ready to play."

Bargnani was slated to suit up for FIBA Eurobasket, the main basketball tournament for national teams in Europe that takes place biennially. This year, it's being held in Slovenia from Sept. 4-22.

CHANDLER "READY TO GO": While Bargnani returns to form, Woodson said Tyson Chandler, who suffered a neck ailment toward the end of last season and lost 10 pounds due to the flu, is "back normal ready to go."

"He's put a lot of work in this summer, as all the players," Woodson said. "We've got to make sure that they do that. I thought that was a major key coming into last season. Guys came back to camp in great shape and really got us off to a great start, so I'm expecting the same thing this season."

THE BENO BOOST: Woodson talked about how key the acquisition of Beno Udrih was to the team's future success.

"It's major," the coach said. "I mean, we needed a third point guard and Beno has got playoff experience, he's won a couple of titles under [Gregg Popovich]. I like him because he's not afraid to make plays. He can run a basketball team, and if he's got to make a big shot, he's capable of doing that. So he'll be a great addition to our ball club, and with Raymond [Felton] and Pablo [Prigioni] at the other two point guard spots, camp should be pretty competitive."

THE EAST IS A BEAST, BUT ... Woodson knows the Eastern Conference has upgraded, and some insiders believe the Knicks are now the fifth-best team, after the Heat, Pacers, Bulls and Nets. But he doesn't care if his team has a hunted or under-the-radar label.

"The East is gonna be a bear this season, but you still have to play the games," he said. "I don't buy into and read into a lot of the things that are being said, because you still have to play. I do know that the East will be more talented this season than it's ever been, and we just got to worry about the Knicks."

While Woodson was speaking to a group of children at the Knicks' training facility during the Garden of Dreams Foundation's fifth annual Dream Week, he answered a question about former Knick Jason Kidd becoming the head coach of Brooklyn.

"I'm very happy for Jason Kidd," he said. "I mean, this is his first go-around as a head coach, and I wish him nothing but the best until he plays the New York Knicks. That's how it should be. I think he'll do extremely well there. He's got a veteran ball club, which helps."