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Originally published Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Suns' Stoudemire feels healthier

Italy was good for Phoenix Suns center Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire said Saturday that he is "about 100 percent" healthy after his up-and-down...

PHOENIX — Italy was good for Phoenix Suns center Amare Stoudemire.

Stoudemire said Saturday that he is "about 100 percent" healthy after his up-and-down recovery from microfracture knee surgery.

"Right now, I haven't felt any pain. No discomfort," he said. "I'm glad to be back."

The Suns returned from their European training camp Thursday and held an open practice for fans Saturday before leaving for Las Vegas, where they play the Los Angeles Lakers in an exhibition game tonight.

Stoudemire's status looked shaky earlier this month, when stiffness in his knees forced him to sit out a practice in Italy.

Since that time, he has participated in every practice and the team's two exhibition games in Germany.

"Each day, I've been feeling better," Stoudemire said.

The 23-year-old underwent surgery on his left knee a year ago, shortly after signing a five-year, $73 million contract. He played three games last season before having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni sounds encouraged.

"He's looking better on the court," D'Antoni said of the 6-foot-10 Stoudemire. "Every once in awhile, he'll explode with a big dunk. You see him running better and he's more fluid, so it has to be good news."

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