Suns star free of pain after testing knee

Published October 15, 2006

PHOENIX - Italy was good for Amare Stoudemire.

The Suns power forward said Saturday that he's "about 100 percent" healthy after his up-and-down recovery from microfracture knee surgery.

"Right now I haven't felt any pain, no discomfort," he said. "I'm glad to be back."

The Suns returned from their European training camp Thursday and held an open practice for fans Saturday before leaving for Las Vegas, where they play the Lakers in a preseason game tonight.

Stoudemire's status looked shaky at best last week when stiffness in his knees forced him to sit out a practice in Italy.

Since then, he has participated in every practice and the team's two preseason games in Germany.

"I had a day off practice, and then that next day I just felt great," Stoudemire said. "Then I came back on back-to-back practices and felt even better. Then I came back for the game and felt even better. Each day I've been feeling better."

Coach Mike D'Antoni is encouraged.

"He's looking better on the court," D'Antoni said. "Every once in a while he'll explode with a big dunk. You see him running better and he's more fluid, so it has to be good news."

Stoudemire, 24, had surgery on his left knee a year ago, shortly after signing a five-year, $73-million contract.

He tried to come back in March, playing in three games before shutting it down. Eventually, he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Since then, he has had good days and bad, but he believes he has finally broken through.

"It's tough to get in shape, it's tough to do certain things when you're feeling pain every time you make a move," Stoudemire said. "Now that that's over, I'm ready to roll."

JAZZ: Guard Derek Fisher was hospitalized for X-rays after he fell following a collision with Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal during the first quarter of a preseason game. Team spokeswoman Cindy Edman said Fisher was hospitalized for additional X-rays of his pelvis after X-rays at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis were unclear.