WASHINGTON (AP) -New York Knicks reserve center Jerome James was active for the first time this season Friday night, returning from surgery on his right foot in November.
``If we get in foul trouble, he's another big body we can use,'' Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said before his team faced the Washington Wizards.
Asked whether James might take playing time away from starting center Eddy Curry or other frontcourt players, Thomas said: ``Next week, you can make a controversy. Tonight we don't need a controversy.''
With James active, the Knicks had Wilson Chandler, Randolph Morris and Stephon Marbury as their inactive players Friday.
The 7-foot-1 James signed a $30 million, five-year contract in 2005, but the Knicks acquired Curry shortly thereafter, immediately making James a backup. He played in only 45 games in 2005-06, then just 41 games last season, when he averaged 1.9 points.

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