GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Amare Stoudemire could be sidelined for two months, the second straight season the New York Knicks forward will miss significant time because of injury.
The Knicks said Tuesday that Stoudemire would have left knee surgery and could be out six to eight weeks, more than twice as long as originally estimated when he was hurt during the preseason.
The team said he will have a debridement, a procedure to remove tissue.
“It’s tough. I mean, Amare’s a big piece to our puzzle, man. I don’t care how you slice it,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “We’ll be here when he gets back, that’s for sure. We’ve just got to hold the fort down until he’s able to get back in a uniform and on the floor playing.”
Stoudemire missed the first two preseason games with a bruised left knee, then scored 18 points in 27 minutes against Toronto on Oct. 19. He was bothered by more pain and the Knicks announced he had a ruptured cyst and would be sidelined two to three weeks.
But he and the Knicks decided after further discussion and consultation to have the procedure.
Stoudemire struggled through an injury-filled 2011-12, though none of his problems were with his surgically repaired knee. He missed 15 games because of injuries, 13 with a bulging disk in his back, and his average of 17.5 points was his lowest since his rookie season.
His absence further hinders the Knicks’ hopes of getting Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to mesh in their first full season together. The Knicks are just 31-40 when both play, and both have said they expected things to be better this season with their first training camp.
“It’s disappointing. I definitely thought this was going to be the season that we had a chance to go out there and play together in a full season, no injuries or things like that,” Anthony said. “But at the end of the day, you can’t control that. You can’t control what happens to your body, you can’t control injuries.
“We want him to just be healthy. End of the day, when he’s ready to come back, his jersey will be hanging in the locker and we’ll be ready for him.”
The Knicks could opt to play Anthony at Stoudemire’s power forward spot, which they did with success late last season.
New York did get good injury news Tuesday when center Tyson Chandler was able to take part in portions of their practice. He was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee after a collision in an exhibition game last Wednesday, but hopes to play Thursday in the season opener at Brooklyn.
The NBA communications staff announced on its Twitter page Tuesday night that the game would be played as scheduled, despite damage to New York’s subway system caused by Hurricane Sandy. The NBA said earlier Tuesday it was still evaluating games for later this week.
DENVER — Ty Lawson has signed a four-year, $48 million extension with the Denver Nuggets. The deal eliminates a distraction that’s been hanging over the team and its star point guard for weeks.
“It Looks like im going to be a nugget for another 4 yrs..Thanks to the Kronke family, Masai, nuggets fans and everybody 4 believing In me” Lawson tweeted before the team flew to Philadelphia on Tuesday for its season opener today.
A team spokesman told The Associated Press after the team’s arrival in Philadelphia that Lawson had signed his extension. The Denver Post reported the deal was worth $48 million.
Lawson averaged 16.4 points and almost seven assists last season, his first as a starter. Since jumping from to the NBA in 2009 after leading North Carolina to the NCAA championship, he’s averaged 12 points and 4.8 assists.
Sore knee to keep
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers will start the season without star forward Danny Granger, who has been sidelined indefinitely with a sore left knee.
The team said Tuesday that their top scorer and former All-Star is seeking a second opinion from a doctor as he continues to recover from a knee injury during last spring’s Eastern Conference semifinals. It’s a tough blow for the Pacers, who had high hopes heading into Wednesday night’s season opener in Toronto.
For the first time since the early 2000s, fans thought they may have an NBA title contender as all five starters from last season’s playoff run returned.
Now Indiana must contend with the loss of Granger, a small forward who averaged team-best 18.7 points per game last season, and the possibility that starting point guard George Hill might not be 100 percent. Hill did not play in any preseason games because of a left thumb injury and a right hip-pointer.
Coach Frank Vogel told The Indianapolis Star on Monday that Hill is expected to start against the Raptors and that he would like to play Hill about 30 minutes per game.
Clippers waive Leslie
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers waived guard Travis Leslie on Tuesday.He averaged 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in four preseason games. Leslie played in 10 games for the Clippers last season.