GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- For the first time in a long time, Amar'e Stoudemire is not playing with a minutes restriction.
Stoudemire has played with minutes restrictions for most of the past two seasons. Much of last season, he wasn’t permitted by the Knicks’ medical staff to play in both games of a back-to-back. He also couldn’t play more than 30 minutes in a game for the first 50-plus games.
The restrictions were in place in an effort to keep Stoudemire healthy. His knees have given him trouble throughout his career; he had three knee procedures over a 10-month span.
This year, the medical staff and coaching staff has a plan in place to try to keep Stoudemire healthy. But a minutes restriction -- at this point -- is not part of that plan.
“Right now there aren't any minute restrictions, or he can only play the front of a back to back, or any of that,” coach Derek Fisher said after practice on Sunday.
Fisher called the development “great news” for both Stoudemire and the Knicks.
He said the staff has predetermined rest days in place for Stoudemire. But other than the “recovery days” already on the calendar, the expectation is that Stoudemire will be available.
“If we can find ways to be consistent in [scheduling the rest days] then we don't have to judge in the game whether or not it’s too many minutes or whether he can start or [not based on minutes restrictions],” Fisher said. “So we're excited that we can go into the season with an open mind in that regard and it's worked well so far. The days we’ve had as recovery days for him, he's looked great coming back the next day and we think it's something that will work once the season starts.”
Stoudemire said before training camp that he felt 100 percent healthy and predicted that he’d be able to play more than 30 minutes per night. He also revealed last week that he’s been bathing in red wine in an effort to keep healthy. Just where Stoudemire fits into the Knicks’ rotation is unclear at this point.
It is unclear who will start at power forward on Monday in the Knicks’ preseason game against the Bucks.
Fisher, though, has said that he’ll look to create lineups based on which players mesh well together and give the Knicks a chance to compete on both ends of the floor.
In four preseason games, Stoudemire has averaged five points on 34 percent shooting in 16 minutes per game.
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