For the Knicks, a Busy Day Off

March 28, 2011

For the Knicks, a Busy Day Off

On a day when the Knicks canceled practice to rest their battered bodies, they were seen and heard around New York City.

In an event at The Times Center in Midtown, Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert and Steve Novak entertained several hundred people Tuesday with anecdotes about their lives on and off the court.

Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony, in an interview with Michael Kay on ESPN Radio, said he would play against the visiting Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Amar’e Stoudemire used Twitter to express his support of the event at The Times Center — it partly benefited his foundation, and he was originally supposed to be there. But he was in Miami getting a second opinion on the bulging disk in his back that will keep him out indefinitely. The Knicks have 16 games remaining.

“One of our soldiers is down, and we just want him to get healthy,” Anthony said in the radio appearance.

Lin and Anthony are listed as questionable for the game against Orlando, although it seems unlikely that Lin, who has a knee injury, will play. Their status will be updated at the morning shootaround.

Stoudemire is out indefinitely, although the time frame might become more specific once a treatment path is chosen. The doctor Stoudemire saw Tuesday afternoon had treated his back last summer and fall.

The previous back injury — sustained in the playoffs last April — was classified as a pulled muscle, which had no relationship to the current bulging disk problem, according to the team. The disks in Stoudemire’s back were determined to be healthy when he was examined last April.

Anthony strained his right groin Monday for the second time in the last two months, although the injury is less severe this time. Anthony was first injured Feb. 6 against Utah. He left the court and missed the next seven games. On Monday, Anthony was able to stay in the game, albeit in obvious pain.

The Knicks were already missing Jared Jeffries, who will be out at least another week because of a sore right knee.

Starting Wednesday, the Knicks play six of their next seven games against likely playoff teams, including two games each (home and road) against Orlando and Chicago, along with trips to Atlanta and Indiana. Ten of the Knicks’ final 16 games are against likely playoff teams.

On the positive side, the Knicks play just two games next week — their lightest seven-day stretch in more than a month.

The event at The Times Center was sponsored by Steiner Sports Memorabilia and The New York Times Store, a unit of the Times Company that sells memorabilia and other items. In an auditorium and backstage in a green room, Shumpert, Novak and Lin delivered the same crowd-pleasing innocence that made Linsanity such a sensation, flashing an ego-free chemistry that has made each a crowd favorite at Madison Square Garden.

“The season’s been kind of up and down, but when it came together for us, it was a beautiful thing,” Novak said. “The way it exploded for Jeremy and kind of followed for several of us; just to follow in his wake has been very cool.”

Lin called Novak “probably the most underrated funny person on the team,” citing Novak’s unpredictability. Novak said only Lin thought he was funny. Then, as Shumpert picked at a fruit and cheese plate in the green room, Novak, who is from Wisconsin, chided him for cheese discrimination.

On stage, Lin humorously went through Novak’s confusion on one of the team’s offensive sets, as Novak once mixed up a play called “orange” and a play that other N.B.A. teams run called “horns.” Novak got even by telling a tale of Lin and Landry Fields making incessant noise on the team plane while playing Monopoly on an iPad. Lin’s defense was that he kept landing on Park Place.

Lin provided consistent laughs with the event’s moderator, Brandon Steiner, before his teammates joined him on stage. Shumpert lived up to the billing Lin gave him when he said, “You’ll know Shump when you meet Shump; his personality shows.”

Shumpert spoke openly of wanting to shut down opposing players simply because he did not like them, or did not think they deserved to score.

“I can vouch for that,” Novak said. “I’ve heard him several times on the bench, say, ‘I just don’t like you.’ ”

Shumpert clarified that certain scorers had a swagger to them when they scored that he disliked.

When he was asked to rap at the end of the interview, Shumpert said he felt as if he were in the film “8 Mile,” before acquiescing to the request.

“Be efficient as a hybrid,” Shumpert rapped. “Be willing to give up your Friday nights for the gym so you can shine like I did. Blood sweat and tears for mine; I be working overtime. I’m trying to get ahead like an overbite.”

When he finished, the crowd gave Shumpert and his teammates an ovation.

Howard Beck contributed reporting.




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