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.
By MATT FALKENBURYSpecial to ZAGSBLOGGREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks were back at practice on Thursday and the question at hand was how Jason Kidd felt after sitting out the win over the Magic on Wednesday with a sore back.
“Well [Kidd] will be back tomorrow [against Milwaukee], so we will put him back in the [starting] lineup.” said coach Mike Woodson after practice.
“We’ve been pretty good with him in the starting lineup…so he could have played if he wanted too, but it was our decision to let him rest.”
The Knicks starting shooting guard for most of the season until Raymond Felton was out with a broken pinky, Kidd has had back issues before. He missed four games earlier this season with back spasms.
Woodson initially said Kidd was “probable” for the Magic game but then he rested him.
“I could have went yesterday but we felt another day’s rest could only help, especially going into a back-to-back [Friday and Saturday],” Kidd said. “We’ll be playing three in four nights [but] I won’t be playing three in four nights, so that helps.”
Kidd has been averaging almost 28.5 minutes a game this season but that number had jumped to over 31 minutes a game since the middle of December.
Woodson has said he wants to keep his minutes in the 20-25 minute range and now with Felton and Iman Shumpert back from injury, Kidd’s minutes should stay in that range.
“I’m always going to be open-minded to what Kidd wants to do. I think he is a pro,” said Woodson. “He has put himself in that position to be able to demand certain things in terms of the way he plays and if he is not feeling well, I gotta respect that and give him some rest because that was a 13, 14 game stretch where he played him a lot.”
Three of the Knicks oldest players, Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby, have battled injuries throughout the season. Ideally, all would be healthy as they prepare for the playoffs, but the futures of Wallace and Camby remain cloudy. Woodson said they may not return until after the All-Star break, if at all.
“If [Woodson] has to play me 30 or if he has to play me 20, whatever it takes to win,” Kidd said. “We’re coming to the All-Star break so I’ll get a couple days of rest. For the elite teams, after the All Star break we try to make that push to get your seeding an then go from there.”
The Knicks will get Kidd back on Friday but it’s in April and beyond that is where they will need him the most.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.