J.R. may be hobbled all season

J.R. Smith continues to play with discomfort in his surgically-repaired left knee -- and he may do so for the rest of the season.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Thursday in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" that Smith's knee may be at less than 100 percent health for the remainder of the season.

Smith had surgery on his left knee a week after signing a three-year, $18 million contract with the Knicks in July.

The surgery, a patellar tendon repair and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee, sidelined him through most of training camp.

He has struggled so far this season, scoring just 11 points on 34 percent shooting. Last season, he averaged 18 points on 42 percent shooting.

"I still don't think he's 100 percent, don't know if he'll ever be this season based on the surgery he had," Woodson told Smith and Ruocco. " ... I've still got to be patient with him."

Chandler eyeing Monday return? Injured center Tyson Chandler will go through contact drills this weekend and will be re-evaluated by the Knicks' medical staff on Monday, Woodson said.

That means there is a possibility Chandler may return Monday against Washington or Wednesday against Milwaukee.

Chandler has been sidelined since Nov. 5 with a broken right leg.

Woody has "to be careful" with Amar'e: Woodson was pleased to see Amar'e Stoudemire make it through his first back-to-back healthy on Wednesday. But he's going to monitor his minutes closely to protect his oft-injured knees.

"I gotta be careful in that area and I can't let him force my hand. I've got to be stubborn when it comes to that. It's a long season and I want to see him healthy when we get to the playoffs," Woodson said.

Babysitter? Woodson also said he may ask his players to stay in a hotel the night before their next early game. They lost by 41 to Boston last Sunday in a game that started at noon. Their next noon start is Dec. 21 against Memphis.

There had been some uninformed speculation in some corners of the media that that the players were out late the night before the Boston game.

"I like to think that none of that happened that particular game when we were so flat," the coach said. "Probably the next early game we might have to do something different: Put them all in a hotel and I sit there and baby sit just to make everybody's doing what they're supposed to do."

STAT steps up for Mike: Stoudemire, like other Knicks, took issue with those that want to see Woodson lose his job for the Knicks' slow start. New York is 6-15.

"It's not fair. We're all in this together. We win together, we lose together," Stoudemire said on Thursday in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show." "It's not just Woodson's fault. Us players have to play the game of basketball and execute the game plan and see what happens. If we do that, you can pick and choose from there."

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