In 2005, Amar'e Stoudemire had microfracture surgery on his left knee. He came back the following season and returned to form. In 2010, the New York Knicks signed Stoudemire to a five-year $100 million deal. It was a risky move, for a player who had serious knee surgery. But the Knicks took a gamble on Stoudemire, and now it looks like a very bad move.
Nothing but Injuries
Since joining the Knicks, Stoudemire has had a history of injuries. In April 2010, he missed three straight games with a sprained left ankle. In Game 2 of the playoffs that season, Stoudemire injured his back while attempting a dunk during warm-ups. He sat out the second half with back spasms and was never the same. The Boston Celtics went on to sweep the Knicks out of the playoffs.
Injuries continued for Stoudemire in the 2011-2012 NBA Season. In late December, he missed two straight games with a sprained left ankle. In March 2012, Stoudemire was sidelined with a bulging disc in his back. He missed 13 straight games but returned for the final four games of the season.
In April 2012, Stoudemire appeared ready for the Knicks' first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. But after a second straight loss, Stoudemire was injured again. This time the injury was self-inflicted. Frustrated by the loss, Stoudemire punched a glass fire extinguisher case and injured his left hand. He missed Game 3 but returned for the final two games. However, the Heat won the series 4-1.
Now the 2012-2013 NBA Season is upon us, and Stoudemire is already out with an injury. An MRI on Sunday revealed a ruptured popliteal cyst in his left knee. Stoudemire is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the regular season. Prior to this injury, Stoudemire missed the first two preseason games with a bone bruise in his knee.
Beginning of the End?
Although the Knicks have made the playoffs every year since acquiring Stoudemire, the gamble has not paid off. Stoudemire has had an injury-filled career with the Knicks. And he is getting older. Stoudemire will turn 30 years old this season. He is an aging NBA veteran with 10 hard years on his body. It is no longer a question of Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony playing well together. It is whether or not Stoudemire is playing at all.
What to do With Stoudemire?
The Knicks have three years remaining on Stoudemire's max contract. Stoudemire is practically untradeable at this point. So what are the Knicks to do with him? If he can't stay healthy, he'll never blend with the team. The Knicks could have Stoudemire come off the bench and rest him more. That would also separate Stoudemire from Anthony and allow him to be the go-to guy on the court. But you don't give $100 million to a role player. You don't make big gambles for a sixth man.
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Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.
Sources:NBA - Statistics - Yahoo! Sports
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