By Abby Sims
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Reports that Amar’e Stoudemire could make his return to action in the second round of the playoffs are establishing expectations the Knicks forward may not be able to fulfill.
Stoudemire had debridement surgery on his right knee on March 11. Despite being only 30 years old, Stoudemire has a long history of knee issues and this surgery is not likely to have helped him discover a fountain of youth.
Initially thought to probably miss six weeks of action, it’s now been eight weeks, and even one more week is pushing it.
Stoudemire was recently quoted as saying, “I’ve got to continue to get stronger, got to get back on the court, start moving around at full speed. … And if I can handle that, then we go up a notch – that’s great. Then I’m looking (forward to) hopefully playing soon. We’ll see.”
Does that sound like a man who thinks he’s ready to play? Even almost?
There are a lot of references to what he’s “got to” achieve first, and then the ifs that follow. Ramping up a rehab program to full speed – running, jumping and quick changes of direction – is the most challenging component of recovery, even for a younger athlete with an isolated injury. And, keep in mind, all this must follow the restoration of full strength.
Stoudemire is still saying he has to get stronger. Once he is able to push his functional limits with higher-level movement activities, he then also has to build up his endurance for doing so. If not, he risks the overuse injuries that accompany playing with muscles that are fatigued. That said, if Stoudemire does make an attempt to contribute, look for very limited minutes, especially at the outset.
His minutes this go-round will likely correlate inversely with the length of his career.
Follow ortho/sports physical therapist and injury expert Abby Sims on Twitter @abcsims
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