Amar’e Stoudemire will sit for the second time in the Knicks first three games when New York hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night at MSG, coach Mike Woodson said.
Woodson said he plans to start the “big lineup,” presumably featuring Andrea Bargnani at the 4, with Kenyon Martin as the backup power forward.
Stoudemire will then come off the bench Tuesday against Charlotte.
The $100-million-man has been a good soldier about accepting his alternating-game, 10-minutes-per-game routine, but says it’s hard to sit at times.
“It’s not easy when you’re known for being a superstar player and then having to accept the role of coming off the bench and then also limited minutes, it’s never easy,” he said. “It’s definitely a process that you have to mentally prepare yourself for but at the same time it’s for the betterment of the team and also it’s better for yourself to prepare yourself to heal and be ready for the longevity.”
Stoudemire, who has had three knee procedures in the last 10 months, scored five points on 2-of-3 shooting and grabbed one rebound in 11 minutes in Thursday’s loss at Chicago. He did not play in the season-opener against Milwaukee.
“I felt great,” he said. “Felt strong, felt energetic. The first quarter kind of caught me off guard because everything was kind of fast, but I was able to maintain and get myself going in the second half and felt great.”
Still, he believes the days off are a good thing and will help save his banged-up knees for the postseason.
“Absolutely, I’m surprised it’s not a mandatory thing around the league because that recovery day is scientifically proven that you can recover and prevent injury and get guys healthy,” he said. “I’m glad that we jumped on that early and we figured it out.”
Stoudemire could amp up his minutes later in the season but is in no rush.
“Not until we feel that it’s important or it’s imperative for us to push it to the next level,” he said. “Right now it’s only Game 2, there’s no rush. We’re playing well. We’re still solid and if they need me I’m here for that extra weapon.”
He added: “I’m sure as the season goes along and as I get stronger and stronger, then I’m sure the minutes will increase.”
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.