What John Williams has to do with his injured knee hasn't changed with the passage of time. He still has to strengthen his knee so it can hold whatever weight he has at the time he steps back on the floor.

The damage to his medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments was repaired in arthroscopic surgery, and he's strengthened the knee over the last 10 months. But his on-and-off sessions may have left his knee at less than the 85 percent it was in early summer.

The percentage "could go down," said Knicks team physician Norman Scott, who operated on Bernard King in 1985, "especially if he's been doing nothing but eating all summer."

"He's got to look out for atrophy all up and down the leg," said Tom Williams, director of a Houston-based clinic. "It'll depend a lot on what he has done, how much size he's lost in that leg. That'll affect him strength-wise, but it'll also affect him movement-wise."

Scott said Williams should use Cybex and Nautilus machines, along with bike riding. Each pound on the body, Scott said, could be as much as three to five pounds of pressure on the knee.