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Tue, 25 Dec 2012 11:26 AM EST

N.Y Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire claims he is open to playing any role that can help the team win, including coming off the bench.

“You guys know me, ever since I have been here I’ve been all about winning and been a total team player,” Stoudemire expounded after practicing for the 1st time since he went through arthroscopic surgery on his left knee November 1. “Whatever it takes to win, that’s the goal.”

Knicks coach Mike Woodson did not disclose his plans for Stoudemire. He claimed he needed to wait till Stoudemire was closer to returning to the court.

Both Woodson and Stoudemire didn’t offer any specifics on a potential return date for Stoudemire, who reported soreness in his left knee after practice but asserted it was nothing special.

Woodson did not rule out the chance that Stoudemire could return, but added he wouldn’t rush Stoudemire back and play him at less than 100%. But Stoudemire also did not guarantee that he’d return in time for the Knicks’ Christmas day game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I do not have a date in my mind when I’m going to return,” Stoudemire said. “I just want to keep improving.”

Stoudemire’s role has become a topic of debate among NBA observers and fans because it is confusing where he fits best for the Knicks, who are off to an 18-6 start and sit atop the Eastern Conference

Some say Stoudemire would be effective off the bench because he and Carmelo Anthony have had a hard time establishing chemistry on offense at different points in Anthony’s reign with the Knicks. N.Y has a losing record (30-33 in the regular season) when both Stoudemire and Anthony are in the starting lineup.

Woodson has stated that he expects the Anthony-Stoudemire dynamic to work, pointing to the Knicks’ 8-2 record with Stoudemire and Anthony in the starting lineup since he took over last March.

If Stoudemire came off the bench, though, it would free him up to be the main screener on the Knicks’ pick and roll, a role in which he’s thrived during the past. If Stoudemire were in the starting lineup, he wouldn’t fill that role because it’s one that starting center Tyson Chandler fills, and fills well. NFL betting lines

“It isn’t important. Whatever it takes to win, I’m absolutely open to it,” Stoudemire declared when questioned about how he’ll best help the Knicks. “I’ve been here for 3 years now; you fellows should to know how much of a good player I am. I’ve played with a team in Phoenix that … was a team-oriented game and the same applies here in New York.”

Stoudemire, who has started each game he has played in a Knicks uniform, added: “I don’t think nothing’s going to change much (in terms of his role). Coach Woodson and the staff know my game and know what I have been working on this summer. They’ve been watching my progress since they’ve been on the training staff. It’s up to those fellows to figure out the best fit.”

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