Injuries always seem to haunt the Knicks.
Last year, things were looking very bright indeed. Some were skeptical about Stoudemire and Anthony being able to work with each other but, ultimately, all were excited for the Knicks' first playoff appearance in years. The rival Celtics were the opponent and, though they had an excellent defense, the Knicks still had a genuine chance to take a game or two from them.
Then disaster struck.
Billups went down with a recurring knee injury, and Amar'e soon followed with a back injury that he somehow picked up whilst dunking in the pre-game warm-ups. Years of waiting, a major free agent signing and a huge trade ended in the worst way possible; with star players sitting helplessly on the bench.
Almost a year removed from that playoff series and injuries are a major setback once again.
Unless you've been living under a rock (or you're in denial), you will have heard that not one, but two of the Knicks three superstar players are out injured for the foreseeable future. Amar'e Stoudemire with his bulging disk in his lower back, and Jeremy Lin with his torn meniscus were both initially touted to miss the entire season - playoffs and all - but, if all goes well, this may not be the case.
Amar'e Stoudemire has been recorded shooting, and even dunking in pre-game shootarounds, as ever in his Trayvon Martin-inspired hoodie, and whilst this may not necessarily mean he's ready to come back to the intense physical challenge that is the NBA, it certainly bodes well for the future.
Things were certainly looking bleak when STAT originally went down with his back injury, especially considering that a similar injury knocked him out of the playoffs last year, but if there's one thing we've learned about Amar'e at this point in his career, its that there is nothing that he can't come back from. By now, Stoudemire's list of overcome injuries and setbacks must be longer than a list of Michael Jordan's career accolades. The transition from High School to the NBA was no match for Stoudemire in his first basketball obstacle, as he ended up winning the NBA's Rookie of the Year award that year, and chronic knee injuries requiring microfracture surgery have done nothing to stop Stoudemire's power game. Not once, but twice did Stoudemire face uncommon yet major eye injuries, and even for those the aftermath is simply that he has to wear goggles now - nothing too sinister. To me, this just indicates that Stoudemire will fight and be back on the court as soon as possible.
The most recent reports about Stoudemire claim that he is back working out with the team, and that Head Coach Mike Woodson has ruled the power forward out for only the next two games. Such a short timescale provides hope that as soon as those games are over he could be right back in action.
Unfortunately, things aren't looking quite as promising for Jeremy Lin. Even Lin himself is doubtful about a return before or during the first round of the playoff's, and with this coming from such a positive-thinking person, that does not sound good at all.
That said, this could be a blessing in disguise. I'm by no means an Anti-Lin guy, but in a playoff environment, the Knicks might just be better off with the playoff-tested veteran Baron Davis running the point, rather than a guy who has played in just 64 career games. Lin's erratic and inconsistent play will no longer be of such a worry, and this will likely be better in terms of holding on to the basketball. The clash in playing styles between Lin and Melo will also be avoided, something that is best to be avoided when the importance of every single game is so high.
Of course, the sudden arrival of Lin at some point in time during the playoffs could have a similar effect to Lin's original arrival in New York, and if that magic can take over the city again, who knows how far this team will go.
Time will tell for the Knicks, adn we can only hope for positive news in both cases. In the meantime, we should just get behind who we have now - they're doing a good job in the absence of STAT and Lin, but the team still needs the support of the city and fans worldwide.