Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Chauncey Billups and Amar’e Stoudemire “both improved” Wednesday, according to a team source, but their status for Friday’s Game 3 remains uncertain.
“Tomorrow [Thursday] at practice will tell a lot,” the source said. “We didn’t do anything on the court today [Wednesday] so all we know is there was improvement.”
The Knicks issued a statement Wednesday saying both players had undergone MRIs.
Billups’ MRI confirmed a strained tendon in his left knee. He is listed as questionable for Friday.
Stoudemire’s MRI confirmed a pulled muscle in his back. He is listed as day-to-day.
“I’m not sure,” Stoudemire, forced to stand for his press conference after Game 2, said late Tuesday. “We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to go by Friday.”
Stoudemire sat out the entire second half after injuring his back while dunking during warmups.
Without Billups and Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony put up 42 points and 17 rebounds in Tuesday’s 96-93 loss and was forced to play alongside backups Jared Jeffries, Toney Douglas, Billy Walker and Roger Mason.
“It’s never a blessing to have guys hurt,” Jeffries said Tuesday. “You don’t ever want guys to be injured. We’d much rather have all the guys out there.”
Still, Jeffries, whose pass to Walker in the final seconds was intercepted by Kevin Garnett under the Knicks’ basket, said it would buoy the team if Billups and/or Stoudemire can return Friday.
“It will be a huge lift because we really had a good momentum, had a good rhythm going, knowing how both those guys play and knowing what to do down the stretch,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get those back back and give us a big lift.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.