NEW YORK (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.
Wallace tried to make it back for the playoffs, but knew after a brief stint Monday against Charlotte that it was over.
“We all wish we can play forever but that’s just not the case,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Some play longer than the others and in this case he had a long career, man, and he tried to come back and it just didn’t work and he’s going to move on with his life.”
The Knicks made the announcement in a release shortly after their morning shootaround. Woodson said after the workout only that Wallace was struggling with soreness and his status for the playoffs wasn’t known.
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 Wednesday morning that Wallace always had a high tolerance for pain but the foot was obviously bothering him. Still, he said he was “a little shocked” when Wallace decided he was done.
“But again, I think when you’ve played a number of years in this league, you know,” Woodson said. “There comes a time when you know that you just can’t answer the bell anymore and that’s the hard part about playing professional sports, because it’s tough to walk away when you know you can’t do it anymore.”
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.”
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.
“Early on this season, boy, he was a big part of what we did and was a big reason we got off to a great start, I think,” Woodson said. “And, you know, the players respect him, so it’s going to be a loss not having him around but it was his decision and we’ve got to respect that.”
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.
The Hawks, even with hope of moving up to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, rested Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Kyle Korver.