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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/jack_mccallum/03/28/suns.amare/index.html

If the Phoenix Suns are going to win an NBA championship this season -- and that is their stated goal -- they will most likely have to do it without star frontcourtman Amaré Stoudemire.

Stoudemire's comeback from surgery on his left knee lasted only three games before the Suns decided to shut him down, "maybe for three days, maybe for 10 days, maybe for the rest of the season," according to coach/general manager Mike D'Antoni.

The best guess? The rest of the season.

D'Antoni made the decision hours after the Suns' most disappointing loss of the season, a 110-72 torching by the New Jersey Nets on Monday night at Continental Airlines Arena. Stoudemire started that game but played only 14 minutes (missing all six of his shots from the floor) and was obviously at no more than 30 percent efficiency. He jogged up and down the court, had very little lift and even winced from time to time when he landed.

"It's mostly stiffness but I have some pain, too," said Stoudemire on Tuesday morning from Milwaukee, where the Suns, 47-22 and still the odds-on favorite to win the Pacific Division, are scheduled to play the Bucks this evening. "I felt like I was improving -- that's why I came back -- but then the knee just started getting tighter and tighter. It felt like I was going to pull something all the time."

Stoudemire had surgery on Oct. 11, during the preseason, to repair a microfracture (about one centimeter wide) on his left knee. That was about a week after he had signed a five-year extension worth about $73 million. Dr. Tom Carter, the Suns' team physician, compared the lesion to a "pothole," which Carter said would get bigger and become harder to treat as time passed. Carter used a surgical awl to poke five shallow holes around the lesion, three millimeters apart, to facilitate bleeding that would harden and form the "fibrocartilage" that would fill in the tiny hole.

The Suns heard no dearth of dire reminders about other players (Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Kenyon Martin, to name three) whose careers had been thwarted by similar surgeries. But the plan all along was to get Stoudemire back for this season, provided there were no extenuating circumstances; the initial projection was for Stoudemire to come back "around the All-Star Game" in February. Carter said comparisons with other injuries were meaningless, considering Stoudemire's age (he's just 23) and the fact that his knee was in otherwise ideal condition.






Stoudemire rehabbed with trainer Aaron Nelson and began limited on-court workouts in January. His surgically repaired knee started to come around, but he began to experience stiffness and fluid buildup on his right knee, probably from overcompensation, and his comeback was pushed to "sometime in March." He would have one good practice, then not be able to go the following day. It was a roller-coaster ride that continued into the second week of March. Finally, after three straight days of work without much pain or swelling in either knee, the man the Suns call STAT (for "Stand Tall and Talented," the slogan Stoudemire gave himself as a teenager) declared himself ready for a home game against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 23.

D'Antoni decided to start him but monitored his minutes. Stoudemire had 20 points in 19 minutes as the Suns breezed to a 125-108 victory. Suns fans began licking their chops: We were already the third-best team in the Western Conference, probably the fourth-best team in the NBA, without him. How good are we now?

But coaches, teammates and the Suns' medical staff weren't so confident, seeing the extent to which Stoudemire's mobility was limited. (On many nights, a player of Stoudemire's talent needs only to be about 60 percent to dominate the Trail Blazers.) He started two nights later against Denver in a 107-96 loss and looked stiffer and slower. And the game against New Jersey, the start of a weeklong road trip that ends Sunday in a showdown against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills, convinced D'Antoni, the Suns' medical staff and Stoudemire himself that he wasn't ready.

"As a coach you always want your best players back," says D'Antoni. "But I had to put on my general manager's hat, too. We have a lot invested in Amaré, and we want him around for a long time. He'll be practicing, doing mostly one-on-one stuff. So we'll see. But he won't come back before he's ready."

For his part, Stoudemire concedes that he's disappointed. "I wanted to come back, help us win a championship this year," he says. "And maybe I still will. But I gotta get this thing right."

It's alright big man, we need you for later. Get well.
 

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The worst part of the NJN game was seeing amare play.

I remember last year watching in shock as Amare standing 15 feet out somehow made his was to the basket and dunked with 3 guys hanging on him in a half second. He was so fast I would often miss the entire play even though my eyes were glued to the court.

He looked old and slow last night. He barley lifted off the ground when he jumped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lukasbmw said:
The worst part of the NJN game was seeing amare play.

I remember last year watching in shock as Amare standing 15 feet out somehow made his was to the basket and dunked with 3 guys hanging on him in a half second. He was so fast I would often miss the entire play even though my eyes were glued to the court.

He looked old and slow last night. He barley lifted off the ground when he jumped.
I know what you mean. I am happy that he made an effort to come back, it was a nice try, but it's time for him to sit out until next year.
 

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I think a lot of it is mental and attitude.

Attitude:
Let's face it Amare has a huge ego and a bit of an attitude. When things are not going his way he sulks. When he gets frustrated he stops trying. The past two games have not been great Suns games and that is why Amare did not have more energy. He looked like he did not even want to be out there. I hope this impoves as Amare gets older.

Mental:
Anyone else who has played sports can feel me on this one. Somedays for whatever reason you just can't get your game up. Maybe you are tired, or have serious **** on your mind. Perhaps you switched workout plans but your body dreadfully misses the old plan and has not adjusted to the new plan. Perhaps you are not used to a new enviroment. Whatever the case there have been times when I just can't play at my best. I can't run fast, make cuts, jump high enough, etc.

It is my hope that the trainers get Amare back on a workout program that involves lots of cardio and stretching. He better be eating right and using ice. Once the swelling goes down and he no longer feel like his body is aching, we can start working on quickness moves (cuts, dashes, stutter steps, etc) in practice. Once he shows his trademark quickness in practice, then we bring him back.
 
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I really hope they shut Amare down for the season. The funny thing about this is that I'm not saying this as a Lakers fan, I'm saying it as a fan of the NBA.

It would be terrible to see Amare turn into another Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway or Chris Webber after this injury. Wait another 6 months Amare. It's more important to contend for 10 championships down the line than contend for one this season. Besides, the Suns are still hella good.
 

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Lukasbmw said:
I think a lot of it is mental and attitude.

Attitude:
Let's face it Amare has a huge ego and a bit of an attitude. When things are not going his way he sulks. When he gets frustrated he stops trying. The past two games have not been great Suns games and that is why Amare did not have more energy. He looked like he did not even want to be out there. I hope this impoves as Amare gets older.

Mental:
Anyone else who has played sports can feel me on this one. Somedays for whatever reason you just can't get your game up. Maybe you are tired, or have serious **** on your mind. Perhaps you switched workout plans but your body dreadfully misses the old plan and has not adjusted to the new plan. Perhaps you are not used to a new enviroment. Whatever the case there have been times when I just can't play at my best. I can't run fast, make cuts, jump high enough, etc.

It is my hope that the trainers get Amare back on a workout program that involves lots of cardio and stretching. He better be eating right and using ice. Once the swelling goes down and he no longer feel like his body is aching, we can start working on quickness moves (cuts, dashes, stutter steps, etc) in practice. Once he shows his trademark quickness in practice, then we bring him back.
Took the words out of my mouth.... I'd give you rep but it said I must spread it around first -.-
 
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