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News » Slimmer, healthier Curry back for desperate Knicks 2009-11-11


Slimmer, healthier Curry back for desperate Knicks 2009-11-11


Slimmer, healthier Curry back for desperate Knicks 2009-11-11GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - Eddy Curry has been on the court for all of 12 minutes of the New York Knicks' last 90 games, so nobody is calling him the team's savior.

This season, he might be the closest thing.

A noticeably slimmer and much healthier Curry practiced for the first time this season Tuesday, joining a team that desperately needs some low-post scoring while its perimeter shooters continue to misfire.

"However I can help, whether it's just being around the guys and just cheering them on," Curry said. "But obviously I'd love to be on the court. Just anticipating and can't wait for my opportunity to get out there."

Curry has been away from the team during practices and games working on his conditioning after tearing his right calf muscle on the opening day of training camp. He looks much thinner, particularly around his face and neck, where he was sporting a long goatee.

What the Knicks need now is for Curry to look good on the court. He could begin playing in games next week.

"We need to get him up to snuff and if he gets there, then yeah, we'll be using him," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, adding that Curry gives the team "a presence that we don't have."

Curry quickly fell out of favor with D'Antoni last season because of his lack of conditioning and poor practice habits, and there's always been the question of how a lumbering 300-pounder fits in the coach's uptempo system. But with the running game stalled and jumpers not falling, the Knicks may have no choice but to try him.

At 1-7, New York is off to its worst start since going 1-8 to open the 2002-03 season. The Knicks have trailed by at least 20 points in six of their eight games and their shooting percentage of .424 ranks 26th in the league.

Curry is a career 54.6 percent shooter and the only traditional back-to-the-basket player on the roster, so he's sure to help address some flaws.

"I do think he can be an important part and make us play better, but the rest of the parts have got to get better, too," D'Antoni said. "So I just don't want to put it all on one guy and think here comes the cavalry. We have to play better collectively."

Curry was limited to three games last season because of illness and injury, and his weight ballooned well past the 285 pounds he was listed at. He spent the summer working on his fitness, with team president Donnie Walsh saying he'd heard the center was down to 317 shortly before training camp.

It didn't matter. Curry made it through one workout before he was hurt again, and the Knicks decided it wasn't worth it to keep throwing him back out there until there was reason to think it wouldn't lead to another injury.

Curry said he's been working out twice a day, crediting player development coach Greg Brittenham with finding a program that worked for him.

"I think I did enough this summer, but I kind of felt like the little bit that I had left to do I would get through it in training camp, and the injury came so it was like I don't want any more setbacks," Curry said. "So while I was out rehabbing my injury, I just wanted to get in as best shape as possible."

The best-case scenario for New York is Curry plays well so some team is interested in trading for him. He will make $11.3 million next season, a salary the Knicks would love to move to free up coveted cap space for next summer.

Walsh reiterated Monday that no matter how bad things get, he won't make any moves that hinder his plans for free agency. So Curry may be the only help the Knicks get until then.

"It'd be great to have him back ... but he's not going to be the cure of all our problems," D'Antoni said. "Right now we need to figure out other things. We should be winning anyway. Now add him to it would be great, (but) I don't want to think, 'Oh, we got Eddy back, everything's fine.' We don't know that."


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 11, 2009

 

 
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