J.R. Smith will not travel with the team on the three-game road trip to Montreal, Albany, and Syracuse. The shooting guard is dealing with a sore left ankle and was held out of the last preseason win over Boston last Saturday night.
Head coach Mike Woodson said he will check on the status of Ronnie Brewer for the upcoming road trip after the newly acquired wing man practiced for the first time on Wednesday afternoon. Brewer has yet to participate in contact drills or any scrimmage sessions.
Woodson is not overly concerned with some of the injuries in training camp, “We have plenty of time. We’ve only had two exhibition games and we have four left. I got to think as we get down to the last two, guys will be gearing up to get ready for the season, especially the last game.”
Amar’e Stoudemire returned to practice following the Knicks contest in Hartford and the big man is ready for action on Friday night. In a practice session early in camp, Stoudemire banged knees with Chris Copeland, which forced him to miss the first two preseason games. He will make his debut in the starting lineup and is looking forward to squaring off against another NBA team.
Stoudemire explained his goals for the game on Friday, “Really just to build chemistry and stay sharp. You know, the speed of the game is always different from practice. Practice is always harder, so pretty sure the game for us tomorrow will be a little bit easier for us as far as cardio is concerned. Every game presents different challenges, so we just have to see how it plays out tomorrow. “
Woodson believes this group of players is naturally coming together at the right time. With a bus trip to Hartford and countless days in the gym side-by-side, the Knicks are a cohesive unit on and off the floor.
“Chemistry has been great,” Woodson smiled. “We have done some bond building things as a team and it’s probably the closest team that I’ve seen in a short period time. “
The head man added, “That part of it is kind of nice. I don’t have to deal with making sure guys are close or straying off in different directions. These guys kind of hang together and do things together, which is kind of nice.”
The team jumped on a plane after practice to Montreal and will prepare for a Friday night exhibition matchup against the Raptors. Watch all the action on MSG Networks at 7 PM.
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