Amar'e Stoudemire finally made his season debut on New Year's Day. In his return from knee surgery, Stoudemire came off the Knicks' bench against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stoudemire entered the game late in the first quarter, replacing Tyson Chandler, and received a standing ovation from the Knicks' faithful at Madison Square Garden.
After the game, the six-time All-Star showed his appreciation for the warm welcome on Twitter.
Stoudemire's tweet seemed to echo a report from ESPNNewYork back in November that cited two sources close to the power forward saying that he is "fine with coming off the bench if that's what they want."
Stoudemire struggled against Portland, shooting 3 for 8 from the field in 17 minutes and ending up with six points and just one rebound. But he did show some flashes of stellar play with a powerful one-handed dunk and a blocked shot on LaMarcus Aldridge's layup attempt. But the Trail Blazers were able to spoil his debut and a big performance from Carmelo Anthony, pulling out a 105-100 win on the road.
While it's not unusual for players returning from injuries to initially come off the bench, Stoudemire's role will depend on other players' injuries according to ESPNNewYork. With Anthony banged up (even though he scored 45 Tuesday night) and Raymond Felton out four to six weeks with a finger injury, Stoudemire might be inserted into the starting lineup in the near future.