Amare needs a second opinion pronto
Amare Stoudemire is jeopardizing his career when he takes the advice of the Suns’ medical and coaching staff to play and practice through the pain he’s experiencing in his surgically repaired knees. [LATE UPDATE: The Suns have now clarified that they don't want Amare to practice or play with pain. Instead, they want him to distinguish "soreness" from "pain," and to push through the former but sit out with the latter. Exactly HOW he's supposed to make this distinction is not clear. It's not as if he's been living with troublesome knees all his life and thus has oodles of practice in making this subtle distinction. This could be a prescription for transforming occasional soreness into the chronic variety.]
Amare should instead listen to himself and his own shrewd advice to take a day off periodically rather than push through the pain or even the theoretically "normal and expected" soreness. He also should immediately contact Matt Harpring of the Jazz (who, like Amare, underwent microfracture knee surgery) and Matt's surgeon and ask about the success they had early last season when the doc mandated limited minutes and no back-to-back games — and Coach Sloan followed the doc's orders to the letter. Later in the season, after Matt had a couple of successful, pain-free months under his belt, the doc gave him permission to play without limitations so long as the pain didn't return, and by that point the knee was up to the task. Now that was after Matt's SECOND operation. The year before, after the first, he played every day until the pain became unbearable. The damage he did in doing so necessitated that second op. Harpring learned the hard way what Amare and the Suns hopefully can learn the easy way. Incidentally, back before Matt had his first op, but after fighting through knee pain for several months, he got — with the Jazz's blessing — FIVE different medical opinions before choosing surgery and the surgeon to perform it.
Amare should also talk to Jason Kidd, who can remind him that frequent stiffness and pain is not part and parcel of a successful recovery from microfracture surgery. Kidd has had none of that. Not once since his comeback has he looked like he was dragging a leg or in pain. He hasn’t missed a game, and he’s had no trouble with the knee. That’s not the case with Amare, and it wasn’t the case initially with Harpring. Amare should not assume that the Suns’ “braintrust” know what they’re talking about with their full-speed-ahead, skip-no-games-or-practices, ignore-the-soreness approach.