BRIAN MAHONEY,AP Basketball Writer
GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — New York Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace retired again from the NBA on Wednesday after he was unable to recover from a left foot injury.
Shortly after coach Mike Woodson said Wallace was still struggling with soreness, the Knicks made the announcement in a press release.
“Rasheed has given this team everything he had,” Woodson said in the statement. “He is a winner, true professional and leader on and off the court. Due to his injury, he will not be available to play for us during the playoffs. We owe this season’s success to veterans like Rasheed.”
It’s a damaging blow for the Knicks, who loaded up on veteran big men this season but have now lost two of them for good in Kurt Thomas and Wallace, and have gotten almost nothing from Marcus Camby.
Also, Amare Stoudemire’s status for the postseason is unclear as he recovers from right knee surgery.
The Knicks added another big man Wednesday by signing Earl Barron.
Wallace, 38, ended a two-year retirement this season to join the Knicks and play for Woodson, who was an assistant in Detroit when Wallace helped the Pistons win the 2004 NBA title. The 6-foot-11 forward was a key player off the bench during the Knicks’ strong start, but hadn’t played since December before returning Monday against Charlotte.
Wallace, who had surgery to repair a broken left foot on Feb. 28, lasted only 4 minutes before exiting because of continued soreness.
Woodson said during the Knicks’ morning shootaround that Wallace was still bothered by pain and it wasn’t known if he would be able to play Saturday against Boston in the postseason opener.
“Again, it’s not my foot, so I don’t know,” Woodson said. “I mean, as long as I’ve known him, he’s had a high tolerance for pain, but obviously it’s bothering him and we’re going to have to be cautious of that.”
The Knicks expect Tyson Chandler (bulging disk) and Kenyon Martin (sprained left ankle) to be ready for the opener.
Thomas was waived recently to free up a roster spot after his season ended because of a stress fracture in his foot. The Knicks were hoping Wallace would be able to give them a few minutes a game in the postseason, but Woodson acknowledged earlier Wednesday that the soreness was a “big problem.”
“Again guys, I’m not a doctor and I’ve never had foot problems, so I can’t even begin to relate to what these cats are going through. But only thing (is) I feel for them, because I do know that they do want to be on the floor,” Woodson said. “They feel like that they can help us and right now that’s not the case with Rasheed.”
Wallace retired after helping the Celtics reach the 2010 NBA Finals. Woodson reached out to him in the offseason about a comeback, seeking Wallace’s defensive toughness and veteran leadership. But Wallace could only deliver it for 21 games in his 15th season, averaging 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in about 14 minutes per game.
Woodson said Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd also won’t play Wednesday in the regular-season finale against Atlanta. He added that Quentin Richardson, who was signed Tuesday, could play significant minutes with the Knicks so short-handed.
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