GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- One day after an MRI revealed Tyson Chandler suffered a bone bruise on his left knee, the New York Knicks center said after practice Friday that he'll "absolutely" play in the team's season opener Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets.
"I'm feeling good," said Chandler, who's officially listed as day to day. "Good news all the way around, so I'm looking forward to getting back on the floor with my teammates. I'm hoping that I can get back on the floor by Monday, just kind of take it easy over the next couple of days, allow it to calm down a little bit."
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said the team was concerned the injury was more severe -- and that's how Chandler felt, too. He said he was initially scared after suffering the injury Wednesday night when he collided with Nets forward Gerald Wallace while he was setting a screen only 44 seconds into the first quarter.
"It was for myself because I've never had anything like that before, didn't know what to expect, didn't know what it felt like and it was just a weird, awkward feeling," he said. "Then the whole night not sleeping until you get the MRI. That was the best thing that I could've heard, that everything was intact and looking strong."
Injuries so far have dominated the Knicks' headlines this preseason. In addition to Chandler, the following rotation players are currently sidelined: Amar'e Stoudemire (ruptured left popliteal cyst), Marcus Camby (left calf strain), James White (sore left foot) and Iman Shumpert (left ACL and meniscus).
Some promising news was that J.R. Smith, who was battling a sore left Achilles, and Rasheed Wallace, who had conditioning issues, both returned to practice Friday. For Wallace, the day marked a big step because he participated in his first half-court scrimmage. Woodson said the 38-year-old veteran, who's attempting a return after two seasons out of the NBA, "looked pretty good."
"He got through the conditioning, we banged a little bit early at the top of practice and then right there at the end, we banged a little bit more," he said. "So I think he's going to be fine. He's just still got to get in a little more game shape. That's expected. This is the first time he's really had some contact."
Chandler said Wallace, who's likely to secure one of the Knicks' last two guaranteed roster spots, "can bring so much."
"He has vocal leadership out there, especially on the defensive side," he said. "He's a 4 that can spread the floor. He's a big body. Having another big body that you can throw out there means a lot."
Wallace didn't address the media afterward, telling a small group of reporters, "I gotta go to this meeting, my man!"
Woodson said the Knicks will return to full-court scrimmaging Saturday, and Wallace will play. However, Stoudemire and Camby won't, and Woodson predicted they'll likely miss the season opener at the new Barclays Center.
"Probably not," said Woodson, who wasn't worried about the amount of adjustments with players' injuries. "The good thing is it's at the beginning of the season. We've still got time."