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SAME OLD CURRYSARATOGA SPRINGS - Only star-crossed center Eddy Curry can injure a muscle only 40 percent of the population still have. From the ridiculous to the absurd, Curry's Camp Saratoga is already over.

An MRI exam taken yesterday diagnosed Curry with a torn right plantaris - an obscure muscle in his right calf, forcing him back to New York to have a blood-drainage operation today.

Curry plans to return to Saratoga Springs tonight, but he will sit out three to five days of practice to recover from the procedure. He will miss the rest of the week-long training camp for the second straight year as well, with the Knicks' preseason opener set for Sunday in Albany against the Nets.

His comeback - after undergoing a highly publicized weight-training program that helped him lose 40 pounds - is on life support. Curry desperately needed this week of two-a-days at Skidmore College to get back into reasonable NBA game shape. Curry lasted 10 minutes of the first scrimmage Tuesday night before turning up lame, battling for a rebound with David Lee and hobbling off the court.

"I feel sorry for him," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It's easier to get in shape this way than doing it on your own, and that's what he's going to have to do. It makes it a little bit tough."

The plantaris muscle is a vestigial muscle, which no longer has use and 60 percent of people don't even have it. The injury is normally associated with tennis, though Curry never has been mistaken for being a serve-and-volley specialist. The only NBA player ever known to have this injury was Brent Barry nearly two years ago.

Last training camp, Curry missed the entire week, holed up in a Saratoga Springs hospital, bedridden by a bacterial infection. That was the beginning of his nightmare season in which he played three games for a total of 12 minutes, dealing with weight and knee problems. Knicks sources said this injury is not due to overweight issues - and there is no truth Curry wants to legally change his name to Jerome James.

The Knicks were hoping Curry could return to the form of 2006-07, not only to help this season but increase their chances of trading him and his long-term contract.

The present now rests heavily on Lee's shoulders, preparing again to be their undersized starting center, with Curry out of the picture. Rookie power forward Jordan Hill, their first-round pick, is a project, not ready for the rotation yet, according to D'Antoni.

Lee likely will start in a frontcourt with Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari - with D'Antoni acknowledging his team still has no shot-blocking.

"I enjoy it," Lee said. "I have tough matchups. There are guys who present anyone with tough matchups like Dwight Howard."

Lee (16.0 ppg, 11.7 rebounds) battled knee tendinitis late in the season from the pounding, but he said, "I played 81 of 82 games. I held up pretty well considering. And I'll do better this year."

Darko Milicic is expected to back up Lee, and D'Antoni isn't angry he arrived from Serbia Saturday, missing all the pre-camp workouts. D'Antoni said Milicic is still in decent shape.

"I've been on the other end," D'Antoni said. "I had to go to Europe. That's what you do when you're a foreigner. You want to stay home with the family. You give him leeway. I'd love for him to come in early, but he came in shape."

Hill injured his foot in pre-camp workouts last week when Lee stepped on it, which has slowed him. "The intensity he has to play, it's going to take him time to adjust," D'Antoni said.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 2, 2009


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