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News » Curry, Gallinari finally on the court during camp

Curry, Gallinari finally on the court during camp

Curry, Gallinari finally on the court during campSARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - Eddy Curry and Danilo Gallinari made it through the opening practice of training camp, which already puts them ahead of where they were last year.

What they can do when the games start is a key to the New York Knicks' hopes this season.

After watching their teammates during much of 2008-09, Curry and Gallinari joined them on the floor at Skidmore College on Tuesday, a positive start to Mike D'Antoni's second season as coach of the Knicks.

"They're further along then last year, that's for sure," D'Antoni said after the morning practice. "The biggest thing is, can they do it tonight? Can they do it tomorrow morning, can they do it tomorrow night? That's their whole thing."

They couldn't do much of anything last season, Curry because of illness and injury, and Gallinari because of a back problem that required surgery. Now they hope to provide the Knicks with a big body in the paint and a reliable shooter from the perimeter.

First they either have to avoid injuries or show the ability to play through them. Neither did last season, when it would have seemed easy to write either player off for the year.

"I never thought that with Danilo, but with Eddy so many things were going wrong in his life and he couldn't get back on the court that I just got worried that he can get out of this," team president Donnie Walsh said. "And he's trying to pull himself out and he has, so he should be proud of himself."

Already faced with questions about his ability to play in D'Antoni's system, Curry got sick on the eve of training camp last year and spent part of the week in Saratoga Hospital. He never caught up, with D'Antoni criticizing his practice habits and benching him when the season started.

Curry already knew it would be tough to come back from that, then he struggled with a sore knee that cost him the first 33 games. He played only three games and 12 minutes all season, and things were worse off the court.

He was sued by his former limo driver, who alleged verbal abuse and sexual harassment, and was drawn into a custody battle over his 3-year-old son, Noah Henry, after the murder of his former girlfriend.

He played so little last season that Walsh said Tuesday was the first time he'd ever seen him go through a full practice.

Curry spent the summer trying to get back into shape, dropping to 317 pounds shortly before camp, and is committed to show D'Antoni he has a work ethic, playing through a sore right calf Tuesday morning that required tape.

"I'm still trying to find my rhythm, trying to get my wind back, so it's real important for me to try to stay out there as much as possible," Curry said. "Every second I can get out here on the court is important for me."

He strained the calf in the evening scrimmage and the Knicks said he would be re-evaluated Wednesday.

Even if he doesn't fit into their long-term plans, the Knicks need Curry on the floor so they can showcase him for a potential trade. He is set to make nearly $11.3 million next season, and moving him would free up even more salary cap space for the summer of 2010.

Curry was once considered the future of the franchise. That role now goes to Gallinari.

The Knicks rave about last season's first-round pick, with D'Antoni even calling him the best shooter he's ever seen. Gallinari couldn't show them much last season, when he hurt his back in summer league and was never fully healthy.

He already looks stronger and now weighs 225 pounds after finishing last season around 218.

"It's just a good feeling to start normal with the team," Gallinari said. "I couldn't do that last year, so doing it this year is just great."

The Knicks were 14-14 when Gallinari did play last season. He shot 44 percent from 3-point range, and welcomes the pressure that comes with D'Antoni's praise.

"Having responsibility, that expectation is just fine," Gallinari said. "I like that. I know I can deal with that. I just know I'm ready for that."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 30, 2009


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