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2 Phoenix SUNS
Arash Markazi
October 23, 2006
Their big man is up and running. If he stays healthy, there's no stopping them
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October 23, 2006

2 Phoenix Suns

Their big man is up and running. If he stays healthy, there's no stopping them

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G LEANDRO BARBOSA 13.1 ppg 2.8 apg 0.84 spg 48.1 FG% 44.4 3FG%
F JUMAINE JONES* 10.5 ppg 4.9 rpg 0.89 spg 40.5 FG% 34.3 3FG%
F-C KURT THOMAS 8.6 ppg 7.8 rpg 1.1 apg 1.02 bpg 48.6 FG%
G MARCUS BANKS* 10.0 ppg 2.3 rpg 3.8 apg 0.93 spg 46.8 FG%
G-F ERIC PIATKOWSKI* 2.0 ppg 0.8 rpg 0.21 spg 39.3 FG% 27.3 3FG%

When the term microfracture surgery comes up, the names of Penny Hardaway and Allan Houston, whose knees were never the same after undergoing the procedure, often follow. But when 6'10" Suns big man Amar� Stoudemire talks about the left-knee operation that sidelined him for the first 66 games of last season, he thinks of Bruce Lee and Tupac Shakur.

"Regardless of what people say about the injury and how some people may not recover, you got to have faith," says Stoudemire, 23, who was a second-team All-NBA selection two seasons ago. "They said Bruce Lee would never walk again [after he hurt his back], but he came back and he did his martial arts better than ever." On Stoudemire's most frustrating days he listens to the 2Pac song Still I Rise, an anthem of his for a decade. "Just believe in God, and you will rise," he says. "[The title is] written on the shoes that I plan on wearing during the All-Star Game in February."

Stoudemire may be getting a bit ahead of himself--he admits that he still has his share of bad days, when simply running the court without pain is a chore. Phoenix opened training camp in Europe, and Stoudemire missed some time with pain in both knees. Though the Suns went to the conference finals last year, for them to win the title, Stoudemire must regain the explosiveness that made him a force at both ends of the floor. "It was hard not being able to play this past season, and that drives me. It's something I never want to go through again," he says. "I wouldn't wish that feeling on my worst enemy."

Projected Starting Lineup with 2005--06 statistics

Record: 54--28 (3rd in West)

Points scored: 108.4 (1st in NBA)

Points allowed: 102.8 (28th)

Coach: Mike D'Antoni

(fourth season with the Suns)

Amar� Stoudemire*
POS. C
PPG 26.0
RPG 8.9
APG 1.6
BPG 1.63
SPG 0.96
FG% 55.9
FT% 73.3

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