Prigioni doubtful for Game 1

April, 19, 2013
4/19/13
5:45
PM ET
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Since Knicks starter Pablo Prigioni is doubtful for Saturday's Game 1 between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, coach Mike Woodson is considering James White and Chris Copeland as possible substitutes in the starting lineup.

"I'll sleep on it tonight and come up with a decision tomorrow sometime," Woodson said after Friday's practice.

Prigioni sprained his right ankle toward the end of the first quarter in Wednesday's regular-season finale against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Knicks said X-rays on Prigioni's ankle came back negative, but Woodson doesn't believe Prigioni will suit up Saturday against the Celtics in the opener of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

"He shot a little bit today but I think he's doubtful tomorrow. I just don't see him playing," the coach said.

Prigioni stayed late at the practice facility on Friday getting treatment on his ankle. He said the swelling has gone down. In a positive sign, Prigioni wasn't wearing any protective brace. But didn't seem confident about playing on Saturday. Instead, Prigioni targeted Tuesday's Game 2 as a possible return date.

"I think Tuesday I'll be back," he told ESPNNewYork.com.

If Prigioni doesn't play, Copeland or White would start at small forward along with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler on the Knicks' front line. Raymond Felton would play point guard and Iman Shumpert would start at shooting guard.

Inserting White or Copeland at small forward would allow Anthony to remain at power forward, where he's exploited mismatches all season.

The loss of Prigioni would be significant for the Knicks. The 36-year-old Argentine had started 16 of the Knicks' final 17 games and was a key cog during the Knicks' 13-game winning streak late in the regular season.

His relentless full-court pressure on opposing guards will be missed if he's forced to sit.

If Copeland gets the start, he will likely have to play through pain. His right shoulder "popped out" at one point in Wednesday's game against Atlanta.

He said Friday that the injury would not affect him on the floor, but he did not want to discuss it publicly.

"I'll be cool by game time, I'll leave it at that," Copeland said.

The 29-year-old rookie called the possibility of starting Game 1 against Boston a "dream come true."

Last season, he was playing in the postseason in the Belgian League, waiting for an opportunity to play in the NBA.

He reflects often on his journey over the past year.

"I was just riding on the West Side Highway, looking at the water, and (I was thinking) it's amazing coming from where I've been and where I was last year," Copeland said. "I've said it a million times, 'God is good and he put me in a great position,' and I thank the Knicks' organization for giving me an opportunity."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.8 3.5 0.6 35.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.1
AssistsJ. Smith 3.7
StealsP. Prigioni 1.4
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.5