Knicks' Chandler back on court, hopes to play Tuesday vs. Heat

NEW YORK -- Tyson Chandler was back on the court warming up Sunday night for the first time since a neck injury sidelined him nearly two weeks ago, and the Knicks center said he hopes to practice Monday and play Tuesday night against the Miami Heat.

"That's what I'm shooting for, barring any setbacks," Chandler said before the Knicks played the Celtics at Madison Square Garden.

After Chandler's hard collision with the Nuggets' Corey Brewer on March 14 in Denver, an MRI revealed a bulging disk in Chandler's neck. He said he'd been feeling discomfort in the area for "a while before" the collision but after that incident was in "excruciating" pain.

"I couldn't even move," Chandler said. "After a while, after letting it calm down, then it became where I could walk around but just couldn't sit for long periods of time or move without spasming up or catching pain. But this is the best I've felt since, and I'm optimistic that it's getting better."

Chandler was running sprints on the Garden floor and doing agility drills, which included reaching up and laying the ball in the basket. It was the first time since the injury that he's been able to raise his arms above his shoulders "without feeling any pinch," he said.

Chandler said he saw a specialist on Wednesday after the Knicks returned from Boston, but it was determined that he would not need an epidural or other type of anti-inflammatory injection.

"When I went to get the MRI, they just saw some things," Chandler said. "It wasn't bad; just a little bulge but not necessarily something that would be long term or something that would need surgery or anything like that. But I was reacting to something, and it probably was the hit that I took in the Denver game that kind of brought everything about. So the doctors' suggestion was to just kind of let things quiet down. And then once things quieted down, then I could actually start doing the rehab."

If the pain doesn't return Monday, Chandler said he intends to practice and travel with the team to Miami for Tuesday night's game. The Knicks were riding a seven-game winning streak going into Sunday night's game against Atlantic Division rival Boston, the longest active winning streak in the league after Miami's streak ended at 27 and Denver's at 15 this past week.

"I just like to be on the court," Chandler said. "I want to be out there for my teammates. So if I can play, I'm going to play. But I also have to do what's best for my teammates, and being 100 percent and being able to be active is what's best for my teammates at this point. They've done an excellent job of not putting the pressure on me and letting me rest and get back because of the way they've been playing of late. A seven-game winning streak kind of helps things."

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