Amar'e: 'I can't control injuries'

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Amar'e Stoudemire has yet to run full speed on the court, but he's still holding out hope that he can be ready for the season opener -- or even the preseason.

"Yeah, it's definitely a possibility. It's just a matter of how strong my legs are and if they're strong enough to be ready by then," Stoudemire said Tuesday. "I'm working my butt off right now to gain strength and hopefully I'll be ready by the season opener."

Stoudemire will miss at least the first three games of the preseason due to recurring knee injuries. He's rehabilitating from a surgical procedure on one of his knees over the summer.

"I'm still getting stronger, still getting the legs strong enough to withstand the pressure of playing, but progress has been great so far," Stoudemire said.

The 11-year veteran has been running at half speed on the court and shooting, but hasn't been able to go at full speed yet. Most of his training camp days have consisted of exercising in the weight room, working in the pool and running on a treadmill that allows you to decrease the amount of stress on your knees.

Once he returns to the floor, Stoudemire will play on a minutes limit. But that limit hasn't been established by the team's medical staff yet.

"He hasn't had any setbacks so far, which is kind of nice," Mike Woodson said. "We're still trying to get his legs back up and under him."

With Stoudemire, though, there is always a concern that his next knee injury is just one workout away. The offseason knee procedure was Stoudemire's third over the past 12 months.

"There's always a thought of injuries with me and my career," Stoudemire said. "But again I can't change it. I try not to worry about things I can't control. With that mindset, it keeps you sane.

"I can't control injuries," Stoudemire added. "All I can do is work extremely hard and do all I can to do to prevent them and hopefully this time will be the last time."

Stoudemire, 30, played in just 29 regular-season games last season due to recurring knee issues. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees to clean out debris.

Stoudemire also had microfracture surgery on his knee in 2005.

Due to injuries, his five-year, $100 million contract with the Knicks is uninsured. He has two years and $45 million left on the deal.

Stoudemire said Tuesday that he is trying to strengthen his legs to prevent future injury. He still holds out hope that he can return to the form he showed in his first season in New York, when he averaged 26 points and nine rebounds in the first two months of the season.

"Unfortunately injuries played a factor after I was here that first year but I do envision myself getting healthy and being able to dominate as I once did before," Stoudemire said.

With Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin on the roster, the Knicks have plenty of forwards in place if Stoudemire isn't healthy enough to play.

"The coaching staff and the training staff are not pushing me at all to play in preseason or the start of the regular season," Stoudemire said. "There's no pressure right now to return as soon as possible. We've got guys that can hold the house down."

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