When the Knicks left the Garden on Sunday, it looked as if they would start their three-game road trip Wednesday without their banged-up starting backcourt. As it turns out, both Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd expect to play against the Bobcats after the veteran guards practiced Tuesday and pronounced themselves fit for game action.

Kidd said he's "100%" after missing four games with back spasms, while Felton will play with a padded wrap around the bruised left hand he suffered Sunday against the Suns.

"It's gonna be tough, but I'm playing," said Felton, who is second on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game. "It kind of hurts when the ball hits my hand from a pass, but I can deal with that type of pain."

Felton also has more personal reasons for wanting to play; the eight-year pro hails from South Carolina and won an NCAA title with North Carolina before playing five seasons with Charlotte at the start of his NBA career.

"It'll be good to get a chance to see my family, see my son, and I'll have a lot of friends and stuff come out. So I definitely wanted to play that game," Felton said. "But mostly I'm trying to help my team to get a win."

Felton, who injured his left hand at the base of his thumb when he "banged it" on Sebastian Telfair's knee on Sunday, added that he expects to wear the protective wrap "for a while."

As for Kidd, whom Felton called "my mentor" and "my big brother," the Knicks won't officially confirm his return until before Wednesday's game.

"It's gonna be based on how Kidd feels after sleeping tonight. He's probable, put it that way," coach Mike Woodson said. "It'll be nice to have him back."

Still, Woodson doesn't expect to immediately give Kidd heavy minutes, especially with another key game the next night in Miami and a visit Saturday to Chicago.

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