The New York Knicks, oldest team in the NBA this season, are also leading the league with seven players already nursing injuries. And yes, it is still week one.
Thirty-eight year-old center/forward Marcus Camby hadn't practiced for nearly four weeks until the start of this week; the remnants of a calf strain suffered at the start of training camp still getting in his way. With Thursday night's game against the Nets postponed, will Camby be out there tonight? Not likely. If so, will he log significant minutes? Did one extra day of healing make that much difference? Despite any hype, don't count on it. Keep in mind too that muscle strains can be nagging, particularly for older athletes and that unfortunately, recurrences are common. That is especially so if an athlete returns to competition before being fully healed. The calf muscles are power muscles, important for the push-off necessary for running and jumping. Camby should warm the bench until he can play at full speed.
Tyson Chandler, 30 year-old Knicks center and 2012 Defensive Player of the Year, made an early but not hasty exit due to a knee injury just after the start of a pre-season game on October 24th. He left the arena that night on crutches to minimize further stress to his left knee. Though expected to play tonight, one week is an accelerated healing time for the bone contusion he reportedly suffered. It must have been a very mild bruise or he would be losing more significant time. Regardless, it won't be a surprise if Mike Woodson does a lot of subbing tonight. With Camby and Stoudemire hurting, power forwards Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace will likely get some time at center.
Forward/center Amar'e Stoudemire, who will be 30 years old in just two short weeks (Happy Birthday, Amar'e), underwent arthroscopic debridement on his left knee after receiving a second opinion shortly after suffering a burst popliteal cyst. Surgery on his already vulnerable knee will keep Stoudemire on the sidelines for at least two months. Though he may be one of the hardest working players in and out of season, Stoudemire's vulnerable knee may keep him from contributing enough to have the impact he has worked toward. He isn't getting younger and a knee that has already undergone microfracture surgery isn't a great long-term investment.
Thirty-three year-old guard, Baron Davis, (currently 'an advisor' with the team) sustained a partial tear of his patellar tendon, (which connects the kneecap to the tibia below) and complete tears of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) during the 2011 playoffs. Tough to rebound from at any age, and with an expected rehab period of one year, if Davis is able to come back, it isn't likely to be during the 2012-2013 campaign. Going beyond rehabbing the reconstructed primary stabilizer of his knee (the ACL) and healing the ligament that stabilizes the inner compartment of the knee (the MCL), recovery after a patellar tendon repair is no small matter.
Twenty-seven year-old shooting guard J. R. Smith has continued to receive treatment for a sore left Achilles Tendon that has plagued him through the pre-season and is listed as questionable for tonight's contest. If he plays it will likely be intermittently. This earlier column provides more detailed information on the Achilles.
Twenty-two year-old guard Iman Shumpert, the Knick's youngster on the injured list, was another Knick casualty of the 2011 season, having torn his ACL and lateral meniscus in the first playoff game (in April). His return is reportedly anticipated for mid January. Hopefully he will be able return to form.
Ronnie Brewer. Twenty-seven year-old guard/forward who signed with the Knicks this off-season, is listed as probable for tonight. Brewer had meniscal surgery on his left knee in early September and, though he scored 12 points in 20 minutes in his late pre-season debut as a starter, it came on 4 for 14 shooting. A defensive specialist, a lot will be expected of him, particularly with the age of his colleagues.