|How Stoudemire will blend with Anthony is the big question. (Getty Images)|
The New York Post reports that Amar'e Stoudemire, who underwent a procedure on his knee in October is set to return around Christmas, putting his recovery further toward the back end of his timetable than the front. The Knicks continue to list Stoudemire without a timetable. From the Post:
The Knicks' timetable of six-to-eight weeks from the left-knee-debridement surgery hasn't changed. Under that time frame, the earliest he could be back is mid-December. The Knicks play the Lakers on Christmas Day.
A source told The Post recently Stoudemire realizes if the Knicks are winning at a solid clip, he expects to come off the bench at the outset. Last week, coach Mike Woodson wouldn't commit to Stoudemire as a starter but said he's committed to having the Stoudemire/Carmelo Anthony union work out. Stoudemire continues to undergo rehab and treatment but the club will not reveal what that entails.
Getting him back before the end of the year is a great start, and with the Knicks' success, they can afford for him to take his time. Honestly, there's a lot of trepidation about what happens when Stoudemire comes back period, with the idea that the resulting impact on defense and chemistry could derail what has been a great start for New York.
The fact that people close to him are reportedly saying he's willing to come off the pine is big. It takes the pressure off of Mike Woodson and allows him to try that approach. It's a pretty big sacrifice of ego for Stoudemire, who hasn't been a problem for any of the coaches in New York -- unlike some of the stars on that team.
We'll just have to see what kind of Stoudemire we get back. Do we get something closer to the 2011 model who was efficient and productive but struggled next to Anthony? Or do we get the broken down model from last season, which caused him to become one of the worst contract values in the league? How that goes could determine whether Stoudemire, signed in 2010 as the cornerstone of the Knicks' resurgence, winds up staying in New York for a long period of time.