As Knicks' Media Day began on Monday, one of the first subjects Coach Mike Woodson addressed was the health and status of Amar'e Stoudemire, who underwent what was described as yet another "minor procedure" on his knee this past July.
After being limited to 29 games in a bench role last season, it was anyone's guess as to how involved Stoudemire could potentially be for the Knickerbockers in 2013-14.
On Monday, some clarity was provided, but it wasn't exactly for the better.
Coach Woodson talked about easing Stoudemire back into things, taking things slow while attempting to keep him fresh for the postseason. But as the day went on, it became clear that instead of working his way back at a slower pace, STAT may in fact not be available to even begin such a process for quite some time.
"Hopefully by the end of training camp, I should be ready to go," Stoudemire said on Monday. "But if not, we'll see. We're still taking precautionary measures. We'll see how it plays out."
Such an assertion didn't sound all too convincing and/or promising, and as the big man continued to get grilled, he became more candid as well. In the summer of 2010, the Knicks seemed to have struck gold by reeling Stoudemire in to the Big Apple. He was a pioneer of sorts, and sparked an outpouring of talented players becoming more interested in joining the Knicks' most recent quest for a title.
Stoudemire started it all. It's that very fact which makes him an incredibly easy guy to root for and wish success upon. But fast-forward to 2013, and he's faced with a bevy of questions concerning his health and potential contributions moving forward. There's no guarantee for such an impact anymore.
Addressing his expected minutes cap for the coming season, Stoudemire said, "The whole objection is to prolong my career and my season, to make sure I'm ready to go in the postseason when it all really counts. That's the whole goal."
"Right now, my career has been tainted with injuries for the last few years," he continued. "Right now, it's about maintaining strength and health, to have some very solid and productive years. I do still want to reach my full potential. I still have room to improve as a player. My career isn't over yet."
To his own credit, Stoudemire took such questions and addressed such concerns like a champ. He alluded to the fact that players' bodies do tend to break down after over a decade of playing in the NBA. What's more, STAT also said he'd consult and lean on Coach Woodson for advice and guidance, as the latter went through something similar during his playing career.
There's no doubt STAT began to look like himself again last season, even displaying an assertive post-game that helped him pour in the points down low. He averaged 14.2 points on 58% shooting from the field, and helped the Knicks to a 16-13 record.
Stoudemire did look good. There's no denying that. Still, his lack of time on the court will continue to limit what he can do and how he contributes.
With that said, how does STAT hope to fill an important role and still fulfill his potential, at this point?
"Hey, man— I believe miracles can happen any time of day," he said while responding to a question from KnicksJournal.com. "My goal is stay faithful that anything can happen and continue to work as hard as I can and always do, that way I can bounce back and be the player I know I am."
Here's to hoping he manages to find a taste of such similar success once again.