Remember why the 2012-13 Knicks had reason for optimism? Primarily, it was because Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo were both entering training camp healthy, settled, with a point guard and coach they’d be working with all year. Whatever chemistry could be created between the two offensive stars would be tapped, at last. No more midseason trade to rip up the team, no more lockout, no more back injury for Stoudemire, no more hamstring injury for Anthony, no more managing Linsanity, a new coach, a new system.
Just the two stars, preparing for their rapidly closing window.
Of course, it hasn’t played out that way. Stoudemire missed a practice, that turned into a missed game, that turned into another missed practice and another missed game. If you assume he’ll just come right back, try and remember how minor his back injury was at first last spring. (Heck, remember how minor Lin’s knee injury was, too.)
The point isn’t that we know Stoudemire is going to have his leg amputated. The point is that, until we see him back on the court, there’s no reason to take injury information about him at face value.
And the Knicks are now just 17 days away from opening night in Brooklyn. Stoudemire should exercise caution in coming back only once he’s healthy and ready. But because of that justifiable caution, how much time have the Knicks had to see Anthony and Stoudemire work together? And how many chances will they have, if Stoudemire isn’t back out there by this weekend, when the preseason schedule resumes?
It has to be frustrating to the Knicks, to Stoudemire, to Anthony. But this best of their opportunities to figure things out is rapidly slipping away, too.