Amar'e: No. 1 priority? 'Staying healthy'

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
12:16
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Amar'e Stoudemire isn't worried about whether he starts or comes off the bench this season.

He just wants to stay healthy.

Asked in an interview with SI Now if he was willing to come off of the Knicks' bench this year, Stoudemire said: "It's not moreso about accepting the role of a sixth man or starting. It's moreso staying healthy and trying to prolong my body and my career and be the best I can for the Knicks."

Health has been an issue for Stoudemire in recent seasons.

The six-time all star played in just 29 regular season games in a reserve role last year due to recurring knee issues. He underwent two separate surgeries to remove debris in both knees.

The Knicks are expected to limit Stoudemire to 20 minutes per game this season in an effort to keep him healthy.

Stoudemire hasn't participated in informal scrimmages at the Knicks' practice facility to preserve the health of his knees.

Instead, he's been training twice a day to build strength.

"Really trying to preserve health in the knees and keep myself healthy," said Stoudemire, who has two years and $45 million left on his contract. "Sometimes you've got to just get over the hump and see if you can get healthy enough to play again and that's the goal for myself."

ANALYSIS: The Knicks have no way of knowing whether Stoudemire can stay healthy for an entire season.

But they're certainly not counting on it.

If Stoudemire gets hurt this year, the Knicks have several players in place who should be able to fill his role.

Kenyon Martin, for one, stepped in and produced in Stoudemire's absence last season. He's back on a one-year contract. New York also has Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace in place. Neither Bargnani nor World Peace have the same skill set as Stoudemire (low post scoring), but both can play the power forward spot in certain lineups.

And, of course, Carmelo Anthony will get major minutes at power forward this year as well.

Don't get me wrong: the Knicks surely would like to see Stoudemire put together a healthy and productive season in 2013-14. No team wants a player its paying $21 million to be stuck to the bench.

But if Stoudemire's knees start to act up again, the Knicks seem to be prepared.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR