Long a gimpy bastard, Amare Stoudemire will return to help the Knicks by the time the playoffs commence on April 20

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Despite looking like a jackass, Amare Stoudemire can still play.

New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire had a cyst burst in his right knee and will be shelved for six weeks while recovering from surgery to fix the wound.

Long a gimpy bastard, the 30-year-old Stoudemire, a six-time All-Star and 2007 All-NBA First Team selection, was averaging 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks over 29 games.

Before STAT went down like an intern in the Oval Office, the Knicks (38-22), with Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Raymond Felton and Marcus Camby, were finally a healthy unit for the first time this season.

New York can manage without the 6-foot-11, 245 pound Stoudemire, who signed a five-year deal worth $99.7 million with the Knicks in July 2010, for the remaining 23 contests.

However, New York needs STAT to advance to the conference finals for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign.

Thankfully for wrongly starved Knicks fans, Stoudemire should be healthy and ready to ball by the time the playoffs commence on April 20.

Although a posse of geriatrics rivaling the Golden Girls in high tops, Chandler, Stoudemire, Camby and Martin provide the Knicks with invaluable muscle that can pressurize the relatively diminutive Miami Heat and create numerous mismatches in the paint.

Respecting Miami’s trio of future Hall of Famers, it is difficult to envision the Knicks preventing the Heat (46-14) from going back-to-back in June.

Nevertheless, with Amar’e Stoudemire on the hardwood, the New York Knicks should be able to compete for their first championship since 1973.

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