As the oldest team in NBA history, it has been a matter of when, not if, injuries would become a problem for the Knicks. With Rasheed Wallace, Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton joining Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert in street clothes this week, that time is now. So you might be asking yourself: where do the injured Knicks (not) stand heading into the new year?

  • Amar'e Stoudemire: Stoudemire, once the franchise's savior, has not played this season due to a ruptured cyst in his left knee. For weeks it was reported his return would be on Christmas Day, but he's still not back. He traveled with the team on its west coast trip this week, and said Tuesday that he believes its a possibility he'll play during the Knicks first game back at the Garden, against the Blazers on January 1st. He looks fit and ready to go, but with a 21-8 record, the team doesn't appear to feel any need to rush him back into the lineup. It isn't clear exactly what Amar'e's role will be when he returns, but it's widely assumed he'll come off the bench, which he has said he's willing to do.
  • Raymond Felton: Felton's been dealing with sore hands for weeks now, which you can tell from his shooting percentage (just 36% over his last ten games). Against the Lakers on Christmas Day he did something more to his hand. After some initial confusion about the extent of the injury (the Knicks are notoriously secretive and somewhat deceitful about these things), it's now clear that he has a broken left pinkie and will be out four to six weeks.

    The loss of Felton is significant. He missed their narrow win against Phoenix this week and they were forced to start Jason Kidd at point guard—not shooting guard, the place where he's been so integral to their success. They'll have to continue doing that going forward. At the same time, it's going to force them to play Pablo Prigioni for extended minutes as Kidd's backup, and it's not clear how the 35-year-old rookie will respond. In turn, Kidd's move to the point opens a hole at shooting guard which they've filled thus far with James White. That's not optimal, although so far they've compensated with extra minutes for JR Smith off the bench, which worked to perfection Wednesday evening. Still, the Knicks are really going to miss Felton and may need to bring in a veteran to help out in his absence.
  • Iman Shumpert: Shump, who if healthy could fill the hole at shooting guard caused by Kidd's backcourt shift, hasn't played since tearing his left ACL against Miami in last year's playoffs. Although Shumpert is young and unproven offensively, he showed last season that he has elite-level on-ball defensive skills, something the Knicks are sorely in need of at shooting guard. He's going to practice with the team Sunday but has not been cleared for contact. It was always assumed he was due for a January or February return to the lineup, and it looks like he's still on track for that. Assuming he returns with the explosive athletic ability he had before he was injured, he'll be a huge help to the Knicks whether starting in place of Ronnie Brewer or coming off the bench at shooting guard.
  • Rasheed Wallace: Another great example of how the Knicks aren't always entirely forthcoming about injuries, the organization initially told the press Wallace had some soreness in his left foot. Now it's clear that he has a stress fracture. He hasn't played since December 8th and is said to be day-to-day, although little has been reported on his actual progress. Since he departed, the Knicks defense hasn't looked quite as sharp and they've missed being able to dump it down to him in the post for an easy look when Melo's off the court. Now that Melo's out with a knee injury (see below), the Knicks could really use twenty minutes a game of "Shhhhhheeeeeeeedddd."
  • Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are capable of overcoming all of the injuries discussed above, perhaps even all of them at the same time. A significant injury to Melo, however, would be catastrophic. Anthony hyperextended his left knee against the Lakers in a collision with Marcus Camby, although he finished the game. The injury is almost certainly a re-aggravation of the injury he sustained against the Lakers the previous week. He sat out Wednesday night's game against Phoenix and is questionable for Friday's game in Sacramento. There's no indication that the injury is anything serious, although Anthony isn't speaking to the media and the fact that the Knicks haven't been open about the extent of any of the injuries discussed above muddle the facts, to the extent there are any. This injury, more than any of the others, bears monitoring.

    Injuries are a part of the long NBA season and what matters is that the Knicks are healthy in the Spring. Still, the injuries are adding up. But some good news: the Knicks just announced that there's no structural damage to Melo's knee. He's out tonight, but he hopes to play New Years Day.

You can follow Jonathan Fishner on Twitter @therealkingfish, and check out his blog The Real King Fish.