“Depending on how he feels [Wednesday] after he wakes up, there’s a chance he could [play],” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Tuesday. “We need him if we can because we’re short-handed.”
Chandler has been out since Nov. 5 with a small displaced fracture of his right fibula suffered against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Knicks are 6-14 in the 20 games he’s missed, and 7-17 overall.
Martin (strained abdominal muscle) and Stoudemire are out for Wednesday, and it’s unclear when they will return.
“I don’t have Kenyon, now Amar’e’s going to be out a while,” Woodson said. “I don’t know [how long] but he won’t play [Wednesday] and Kenyon’s out as well so hopefully if [Chandler] feels good after tonight he’ll be able to get back in uniform.”
Of Stoudemire, Woodson added: “Knee has swelled up a little bit. He’ll be sitting [Wednesday].”
Stoudemire, however, took to Twitter later in the day to dispute Woodson’s account that he was injured: “Fans, IM NOT INJURED, just want u to know I’m ONLY stay’n bk bc of 6 games n 9 days w/ bk2bks! Body & Knees feel great!
Stoudemire, who had three knee procedures in a 10-month span, played 19 minutes against Washington on Monday and managed four points and four rebounds. It was his sixth game in nine days. In four of those games he played more than 20 minutes.
(On Sunday, I wrote that the Knicks were pushing Stoudemire hard, so this latest development can hardly be considered shocking.)
While Stoudemire and Martin are sitting, an upbeat Chandler expects to return.
“Yeah, I’m feeling good out there,” Chandler said. “Now I’ll sleep on it and talk to coach [Wednesday] and go from there.”
Chandler was averaging 7.3 points and 9.0 rebounds before he went down and expects it will take some time before he gets his conditioning fully back.
“I just want to get out there and play free mentally and feel good about it and give my team a chance to win,” he said.
More than anything, Chandler provides protection at the rim. Without him, the defensively-challenged Andrea Bargnani played center.
“He’s gonna bring some defense, he’ll bring a force at the rim,” Woodson said of Chandler. “I thought Bargnani’s done an adequate job in that area.”
As the final seconds of the Washington game showed, the Knicks are sorely lacking leadership at this point, and Chandler could provide some of that more than anything.
“Absolutely, leadership and communication is important out there,” Chandler said. “But I feel like when good things are rolling, good things happen. It seems like when bad things are rolling, bad things happen.
“So we just have to turn the energy around here. It can be done with a couple wins, all of a sudden guys start feeling better about themselves. The communication picks up. And you’ll be amazed what a couple wins can do.”
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.