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New York Knicks Without Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin Approximately Two Weeks

January 18th, 2014 at 1:40 PM
By Matt Agne

When 2014 came around it seemed like the New York Knicks flipped a switch and figured things out. The roster was getting healthy, the ball was moving on offense and the Knicks started beating some very good teams. However, they've once again been bitten by the injury bug as they watched both Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin sidelined with ankle injuries.

'New York Knicks' photo (c) 2009, Mike - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It's one thing to watch players go down with injuries mid-game and it's a totally different thing when they don't return. No one was happy to see Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin brought back to the locker room. The concern climbs to another level when you hear players require x-rays, MRI's and weeks of rest. When you start looking into their season record the last thing the New York Knicks need is more injuries.

It's not like Stoudemire and Martin have been healthy players during their careers. Stoudemire in particular was tough to watch fall in pain because of his many leg problems in the last few years that he appeared to have overcome.

The bad news is that Stoudemire is expected to be out for at least two weeks. The good news is, there's no breaks or knee injuries he has to deal with this time.

Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork reports that despite his injury Stoudemire sounds optimistic about his ability to return to full health.

"I'm going to bounce back from this and get back to what I was before. Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later," Stoudemire said after Thursday's game.

Maybe the biggest problem is that Stoudemire was finally back to playing at a high level and had found a way to mesh well with Carmelo Anthony. He was giving the Knicks a reliable second option and now the Knicks will have to look to J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani, Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton to step up to fill that role.

Martin's injury affects the Knicks defense more than it does the offense. Martin brings a toughness and injection of athleticism the Knicks often lack on the floor. He also gives opponents someone to fear while on offense because of his ability to protect the rim and tendency to foul very hard.

An additional problem with the Knicks losing Martin is that he and Stoudemire play the same position and so the Knicks now become very thin at the power forward position. However, Martin is also Tyson Chandler's primary backup so Jeremy Tyler will have to prove to Mike Woodson that he can fill in while Martin recovers because Cole Aldrich has shown he's just not able to play productively.

Bargnani will also likely have to play come center as well. That's an area he thrived at earlier in the season but it also clearly makes the Knicks weaker defensively. Losing Stoudemire and Martin at the same time is a big blow to the Knicks who are still fighting to get into the playoff picture.

These losses will also likely mean more small lineups. That would mean using Anthony as the primary power forward and playing multiple guards at a time.

Anthony has been very successful as a power forward. Small forward may be his natural position but he's enjoyed his most successful time in the NBA as a power forward. That could be a positive aspect of these unfortunate injuries. 

However, it's very hard to look at these injuries as anything but setbacks for New York. That being said, thankfully neither Stoudemire or Martin should be out overly long since neither have broken bones, tears of any kind or need for surgery. That at least is the silver lining to watching two of the most important bigs on the Knicks forced to the sideline.

Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Mike Woodson, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Tyson Chandler

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