Add Bargnani to Knicks Injury Woes

Published on: 21st October, 2013

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New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
Bargnani only played 35 games for Toronto last season

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 17: Andrea Bargnani #77 of the New York Knicks enters the court pre-game against the Washington Wizards during the pre-season game at the Baltimore Arena on October 17, 2013 in Baltimore, MD. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)  | read this item

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New York — Andrea Bargnani suffered his first injury as a Knick on the eve of their second preseason game in Toronto.

During the Knicks open practice at Columbia University Sunday, Bargnani had to shut it down with back stiffness after early conditioning drills. He didn’t do the 3-on-3 fullcourt drills or the ensuing 5-on-5 intrasquad scrimmage.

Bargnani, beset by injuries the past two seasons, has played in all four preseason games and hasn’t missed a practice. Bargnani will make the trip to Toronto but coach Mike Woodson didn’t specify if he definitely will play until he talks to the big 7-foot Italian.

Toronto fans are used to Bargnani being hurt. Last season, he appeared in just 35 games, mostly due to an elbow injury.

“He just stiffened up after all the conditioning we were doing,’’ Woodson said. “He got some stiffness. We pulled him, took him back to stretch him. He’s fine.”

Bargnani is not alone in the banged-up department. Point guard Raymond Felton, who strained his hamstring Thursday in Baltimore, did not participate in any of the practice today and will not play in Toronto.

According to Woodson, Iman Shumpert, who is still resting his sprained elbow and participated limitedly, is not a definite for Toronto either.

In other news, J.R. Smith, who participated in fullcourt drills today, will finally be cleared for contact tomorrow and will participate in his first scrimmage Tuesday in Toronto before the Knicks fly to Green Bay to play the Bucks on Wednesday.

Smith is on target to play the final preseason game vs. Charlotte so the clock on his five-game marijuana suspension can kick in. (Amar’e Stoudemire was cleared for contact over the weekend but had Sunday off to rest).

Smith, who underwent surgery on his chipped patella tendon and torn meniscus, admitted he still is a little rusty in terms of making some of his moves but not with his outside shot. Tuesday is a big deal for him.

Bargnani only played 35 games for Toronto last season

Bargnani only played 35 games for Toronto last season

“Without a doubt, finally to get out there with my guys and get knocked around a little bit,” Smith said. “It gets frustrating looking on the court, see them practicing working hard, the camaraderie. It gets frustrating. It will be great for me to be out there, not just for myself but the team.”

In the highlight of the intrasquad scrimmage, Metta World Peace banged in back-to-back 3-pointers and then stripped Carmelo Anthony for a breakaway dunk to the delight of the packed house of 2,300 spectators at Columbia’s Francis Levien Gym.

“It’s the first time I’ve been to Columbia,’’ Woodson said. “It’s a beautiful here. True Knicks fans.’’

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