Amar'e Stoudemire plans return

Amar'e Stoudemire plans to return to the New York Knicks' lineup on or about Christmas, sources close to the power forward told ESPNNewYork.com Friday.

On Dec. 25, the Knicks have a highly anticipated showdown on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers. Stoudemire targeting Christmas as his return date was reported earlier by the New York Post.

Stoudemire had left knee debridement during the offseason and hasn't played since. He initially was expected to miss six to eight weeks.

During Friday morning's shootaround at the Knicks' training facility, Stoudemire did some running and shooting drills, as well as lateral drills with resistance bands to build strength in his legs. It was the first time the media had seen him working out since his surgical procedure.

"We're going to accept Amar'e back when he's ready to go, and when that is, I don't know. I really don't," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said after shootaround. "That's a great sign he's out running and he's shooting a little bit. We're just going to gauge it as he goes along, and doctors and Amar'e will tell us when he's ready."

The Knicks are 10-4 in Stoudemire's absence. To fit in with the team, he is open to coming off the bench when he returns, two sources toldESPNNewYork.com this week.

The Knicks also are missing guard Jason Kidd, who has been dealing with a back injury. He will miss the Washington game Friday and is now looking to return next week.