NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The New York Knicks are expected to be one of the biggest challengers to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference this year. But the Knicks will be without a key piece for at least the first six weeks of the season.

According to an ESPN.com report, power forward/center Amar’e Stoudemire will miss between six and eight weeks after reinjuring his surgically repaired left knee. It’s not known whether Stoudemire will have an operation or simply try to rehab his injury.

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The Knicks may have been planning for the possibility Stoudemire will be out with some of their signings in the offseason. The Knicks acquired Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace to help out down low and with Stoudemire out, both could play a bigger role in the rotation.

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The Knicks could also use Carmelo Anthony in the post more in a similar role to what the Miami Heat are doing with LeBron James. Carmelo posted a 29.5 PER at power forward last season and if Anthony’s speed down low could create mismatches just like LeBron does for the Heat.

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The Knicks open the regular season on Thursday with a game against the Brooklyn Nets.