MILWAUKEE - While Amaré Stoudemire’s future remains more clouded than ever, the timetable for center Kurt Thomas’ return appears to be more certain — and it’s not good news either.
Thomas, on crutches with a cast on his right foot since Feb. 25, said Tuesday it’s unlikely that his stress fracture will allow him to return any time before the Western Conference Finals, should the Suns get that far.
“I can’t see (playing in) the first two rounds. That would really take some doing,” said Thomas, who had favorable results on a bone scan over the weekend but will still be in the cast for 2-3 more weeks. “I knew from the beginning that was the probable scenario. I’m into the fifth week of this 6-8 week cast process and after that I can begin the road back.
"As long as the injury heals and I don’t feel like I’d be risking further injury and helping the team. . . I’d love to be out there playing as we keep winning. I’m lifting (weights) and getting stronger just being on these crutches.”
If Stoudemire doesn’t return this season — he’s out at least the next two weeks, when a further evaluation will be made — that leaves Boris Diaw, Shawn Marion and James Jones to shoulder the burden inside along with reserves Tim Thomas, Brian Grant and Pat Burke.
Thomas was held scoreless; missing all six shots, Monday in New Jersey, and is averaging 10.2 points as a Sun. “We’re trying to get Tim over the rust, but he’s going to be terrific for us,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s in an up-and-down stage, but we have 13 games left to get him right. We got him as insurance with Amaré and Kurt being out, and now we’re glad we got him.”