Amar'e Stoudemire to miss 6 weeks

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks suffered a "major loss" on Saturday when they learned Amar'e Stoudemire needs a knee procedure that is expected to sideline him for approximately six weeks.

"He's a big piece to the puzzle," coach Mike Woodson said. "It's a major loss to what we're trying to do but we're going to have to wait on him and continue our climb."

The team announced on Saturday evening that Stoudemire is expected to undergo a knee debridement sometime in the coming week. A debridement is a form of arthroscopic surgery that removes debris. And it's just the latest in a long list of knee ailments for the 30-year-old veteran.

Stoudemire first felt soreness in both knees earlier Saturday and sat out of the morning shootaround. An MRI later Saturday revealed surgery was required.
Per the six-week timetable, Stoudemire could miss the remainder of the regular season. If he is off the floor for the full six weeks, the earliest Stoudemire would return is April 20, three days after the final game of the regular season.

"We've just got to patiently wait and hope that everything goes well," Woodson said.

Stoudemire missed the first two months of the season while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The procedure also was described as a debridement. The timetable for Stoudemire to return from the surgery earlier this season was six to eight weeks, and he needed the full eight to get back.

Stoudemire also underwent microfracture surgery in October 2005, but bounced back well from the procedure.

Still, the procedure can be a red flag for teams. Stoudemire's contract with the Knicks -- a five-year, $100 million pact -- is uninsured because of his history of knee issues. Stoudemire is under contract through 2014-15. He is scheduled to make $19.9 million this season and a combined $45 million over the final two years of his deal.

Asked if he was concerned that Stoudemire would struggle to bounce back from this most recent ailment, Woodson expressed optimism.

"I hope not; Amar'e works hard," the coach said. "I give him a lot of credit for that. He wants to play and be on the basketball floor so I can't help but think that he's going to put the time in ... to get back out on the floor to help us."

Stoudemire had been playing on a 30-minute restriction to preserve the health of his knees this season, per instructions from the Knicks' medical staff. In 29 games this season, the 10-year veteran averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds in 23.5 minutes, shooting 57 percent from the field. In recent weeks, he'd established himself as a strong low-post threat off the bench for the Knicks (38-22).

"When you start playing playoff basketball you need some post up play ... [and] that's where Amar'e was so valuable for us," Woodson said.

Stoudemire's injury isn't the only health concern for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony missed his third straight game on Saturday with a lingering right knee injury.

"We have to just go out there and find ways to win," small forward Steve Novak said before the Knicks' 113-84 rout of the Utah Jazz. "Obviously, those are our main two throw-it-to-and-then-create-their-own-shot scorers for us, so I think our approach just has to be a little bit different."

An extended stretch without Stoudemire means more playing time for the recently acquired Kenyon Martin, who showed some remorse for Stoudemire.

"It's part of sports, we all know that, so we've got to come together as a team," Martin said. "That's why I'm here, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get some more playing time. It's a very, very unfortunate situation."

Ian Begley is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. ESPNNewYork.com contributor Jared Zwerling contributed to this report.