Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire will make his season debut on New Year’s Day against the Trail Blazers, reports Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Stoudemire underwent surgery on his left knee in October and said on Christmas Day that New Year’s could be a target for his return. He had been practicing in the team’s D-League with the Erie BayHawks and then with the Knicks.
It was uncertain whether Stoudemire, a six-time All-Star, would start or come off the bench, particularly given Carmelo Anthony’s strong play and uncertainty about the chemistry between the two forwards. Anthony has missed the last two games due to a hyper-extended knee, but it looks like Stoudemire will not start, regardless of Anthony’s status.
Whether or not Carmelo Anthony returns from his hyper-extended knee on Tuesday, the plan remains for Stoudemire to come off the Knicks’ bench. Anthony told reporters that he will test his knee in pre-game on Tuesday and then make a determination on returning to the lineup.
Stoudemire averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season. The team is currently in second place in the East, a half game behind the Heat.