As his teammates practiced Wednesday, Stoudemire contended that Monday night’s self-inflicted hand injury — caused when he broke the glass partly enclosing a fire extinguisher — was a case of bad timing. It was an unfortunate mishap, with blood and screaming headlines to follow.
“I didn’t, in a million years, expect to hurt myself,” said Stoudemire, who will not play Thursday in Game 3 against the Miami Heat. “Who would want to hurt himself in the playoffs?”
With his left hand wrapped in a thick, soft bandage, Stoudemire seemed neither embarrassed nor distraught. He addressed reporters in a matter-of-fact tone that was a mix of unsupported hopefulness — he said he had a great chance to play in Sunday’s Game 4 — and detached bewilderment.
It all happened, Stoudemire said, so fast.
“I was walking down the corridor frustrated that we were down, 0-2, and I swung my arm at the wall,” Stoudemire said, describing the episode. “The fire extinguisher door was 85 percent metal and 2 percent glass, or whatever. I didn’t see the glass. I swung my arm backward. It wasn’t like I had a closed fist and punched the glass. I was letting off a little frustration — trying to make some noise, not injure myself.
“When I saw that I my hand was cut, I was like, what? I was very upset and upset with myself. But never in a million years did I think I would cut my hand.”
Stoudemire was disappointed that he would not be able to help his teammates Thursday — he said he had let them down — but added that he believed he could play in Sunday’s game. The Knicks list him as doubtful for Game 4.
“I’m expecting to heal up fast,” Stoudemire said. “I think there’s a great chance I can play Sunday.”
Knicks Coach Mike Woodson, however, was not planning on Stoudemire’s return.
“I wait until the doctors tell me who’s ready,” Woodson said. “It’s not something I can undo. You don’t expect something like this to happen, but over the years, I’ve seen players do strange things.”
Woodson added that Stoudemire was apologetic, although according to his teammates, there was no formal apology to the team. Nor was one sought.
“He doesn’t have to apologize to me,” Steve Novak said after an unusually long practice session. “I know Amar’e wouldn’t do anything to hurt the team.”
Carmelo Anthony said he talked on the telephone with Stoudemire on Tuesday, the day after the incident.
“He feels bad and we talked about it,” Anthony said. “Right now, all I care about is him getting healthy.”
At times Wednesday, Stoudemire appeared to be rationalizing the injury, as if to say he was an unlucky victim.
“Everybody gets upset at times,” he said. “People knock over ice coolers or kick a chair or a table. It was accidental that I struck the glass. I just swung my arm backward.”
Asked about fan reaction to the incident and criticism he has received, Stoudemire said: “I understand the fans are frustrated, and I am, too. But they have the wrong perception of what happened. I wasn’t trying to hurt myself and I didn’t punch a glass window. It was nothing like that.”
After Stoudemire left the Knicks’ practice, and after his teammates and coaches faced 20 minutes of questioning about the chaotic Monday night postgame scene, the mood around the team suddenly changed to something a little more uplifting. In an elaborate ceremony broadcast nationally by the N.B.A., center Tyson Chandler was named the league’s defensive player of the year — the first Knick to win the award.
Chandler, signed as a free agent before this season, said he was especially happy to be recognized because he is not among the top players in either blocked shots or steals.
“I play defense by being in the right position and in many other fundamental and not always flashy ways,” he said. “So I’m glad that was recognized. I’ve always wanted to be considered one of the top defensive players in the league. But the defensive player of the year often goes to a big name. It’s just a dream for it to come my way.”
The defensive work of Chandler and his teammates will have to be at its best Thursday against Miami. Much of the Knicks’ lineup is in flux. Woodson said Anthony would shift to power forward, where he played recently, and sometimes thrived, when Stoudemire was sidelined with a back injury, but was undecided about whom to start at small forward.
“Whoever plays, we’re going to need a big push from everyone on the court,” Woodson said. “But I’m not unnerved by this situation. We’ve got a legitimate chance on our home court. We’ll see what we’re made of.”
Point guard Jeremy Lin participated in a full-court three-on-three pickup game after practice. Wearing a brace on his surgically repaired left knee, Lin looked fluid and ran without a limp. “This is the first time he’s been able to run up and down,” Mike Woodson said. “The question is: Can he defend? Can he cut on the knee? We’ll wait and see how he feels. He’s talked about wanting to play but it’s up to a decision by the doctors.” … The Knicks announced that Iman Shumpert had knee surgery and would need six to eight months to recover.