By Alan Walsh

The injury bug has found its way back to the New York Knicks this past week, but the news was certainly worse for Amar’e Stoudemire. He will need surgery on his right knee and is expected to miss six weeks while the Knicks try to close out the season as Atlantic Division champs.

“I feel for the young man because he put so much time and hard work in, but we’ve got to go on,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Before their game on Saturday night against Utah, the Knicks announced that Stoudemire will have the procedure to remove tissue from his knee sometime this week. It’s called a “debridement” and he had the same procedure on his left knee during the preseason.

However, this latest ailment came as a surprise because there was no indication of a problem with his knee until Saturday morning. He didn’t take part in the Knicks morning shootaround, and had an MRI later in the day.

“Not what we expected to hear, that’s for sure,” forward Steve Novak said. “It was like he was out there getting buckets, dunking on guys a day ago, and he’s hurt, so I feel bad for him. I think that the way he was playing, his confidence was high, and you just don’t want to see him get hurt again.

S TAT missed the first 30 games this season before returning to the team on New Year’s Day against Portland. He’s averaged 14.2 ppg in the 29 games he’s played this season- all coming off the bench.

Early last week against the Cleveland Cavaliers, teammate Carmelo Anthony suffered a knee injury while catching a pass and trying to go up-court. That injury occurred on March 4th, and Anthony still has yet to return to the court. With Melo out of the lineup, the Knicks hand was forced and Stoudemire had to play more minutes than what team doctors had initially suggested.

“It’s a loss, a major loss, to what we’re trying to do, but you know we’re going to have to wait on him and continue our climb,” Woodson said. “We can’t sit and sulk and feel said and upset about it. It’s what it is and guys have got to step up and play.”