Amare Stoudemire unsure of ASG
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks big man Amare Stoudemire is ready and raring to go for Wednesday night's game against Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks, though he is unsure if he'll play Sunday in the NBA All-Star Game.
"We'll see how the toe feels after the game tomorrow and go from there," Stoudemire said Tuesday.
Three days after missing his first game of the season with a sprained right big toe, Stoudemire participated in a full-contact scrimmage with the Knicks as they prepared to play their final game prior to the All-Star break.
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"The toe is a little sore still, but I was able to persevere through the soreness and practice today, so I feel pretty good," Stoudemire said. "It feels much better than three days ago. Three days ago I could hardly walk on it. Now I can run and jump. I haven't tried to really jump explosive yet, I'm going to try more tomorrow. But it's so far, so good."
The NBA traditionally frowns upon players sitting out the All-Star Game if they have played in their team's final game prior to the break, and Stoudemire would be entering touchy territory if he declines to play Sunday in the league's showcase event.
"If I don't play, I will definitely have to participate, which is fine with me. I wouldn't mind playing a few minutes. But if my toe feels great then I'll play," Stoudemire said.
But first, Stoudemire will be matched up against fellow All-Star Horford for the first time since Jan. 28, when the Hawks and Knicks played an intense game in Atlanta. In that game, Hawks forward Marvin Williams and Knicks forward Shawne Williams got into an altercation, Marvin Williams drawing a two-game suspension and Shawne Williams getting a one-game penalty for throwing punches.
Horford was particularly vocal and demonstrative in Atlanta's 111-102 victory last month, and Stoudemire was clearly relishing the prospect of going up against him again.
"It's going to be a very, very intense game after what happened in Atlanta," said Stoudemire, who took umbrage at Horford's histrionics. "He don't want to see me. I watched him play in Florida, and I've seen him play a few years in Atlanta. We've got two different games, and we'll see how it plays out tomorrow."
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Coincidentally, the Knicks got a guest visit at practice Tuesday by boxer Shane Mosley, who is prepping for an upcoming fight against Manny Pacquiao. (Mosley also showed he is adept at spinning a basketball on his fingertip.)
The Hawks have won two straight on the road and four of their past six games overall to move percentage points ahead of Chicago into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks' hold on the sixth spot in the East has weakened, having lost four of their past six games.
"I feel like we owe them guys from last game," Shawne Williams said. "Ain't nothing personal, like I said that day. We were competing in the heat of the moment and it got out of hand. There's no hard feelings after. You play the game and you get caught up in the moment and things happen sometimes. It's not like it's premeditated or anything. Everything's good."
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com and is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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