While Isiah Thomas has all but promised Stephon Marbury will not be wearing a Knick uniform next autumn, Newsday’s Ken Berger reports the club is inexplicably pressuring the point guard to return from his ankle injury as soon as possible.

When Marbury suddenly and unexpectedly announced in the days after a loss to Toronto on Jan. 11 that he had been suffering from chronic pain in his foot and needed to have it checked by a specialist, the Knicks obliged. They sent Marbury to their own foot and ankle specialist, Dr. William Hamilton, who found inflammation around a fractured bone spur but did not recommend immediate surgery.

After a follow-up MRI, Marbury decided to have surgery, all but ensuring that he would miss the rest of the season. According to medical experts, recovery time from such an operation is two to three months.

In their statement updating Marbury’s condition Jan. 17, the Knicks made a point of saying the point guard had “chosen” to have surgery. So began the last leg in this test of wills and egos pitting Marbury against Thomas and the powers that be at the Garden.

Thomas did everything he could to trade Marbury at the deadline, but there were no takers for a 31-year-old point guard due to make $21.9 million next season and not physically able to play the rest of this one. Before a home loss to Charlotte on Wednesday night, Thomas said the Knicks’ top priority this summer will be upgrading the backcourt, declining to include Marbury in those plans.

Marbury is said to be incredulous — and rightfully so — at the notion that he is not in the Knicks’ future yet somehow is expected to rehab his foot and get back on the floor to play out the string in this pointless season. If I were Marbury, I’d invoke the great communicator, former NFL running back Ricky Watters, who was asked after his first game as an Eagle why he didn’t sacrifice his body to make a difficult reception.

“For who? For what?” Watters so infamously stated.

It seems as though Eddy Curry is quick to credit Dwight Howard’s 26 point, 22 rebound performance against the Knicks Saturday night to superior coaching. There’s no greater testament to Curry’s current irrelevance than Marc Berman having to detail the whereabouts of Randolph Morris and Jerome James.

Karl Malone has dispelled rumors he was considering a comeback in the Philippines. Apparently, the Manila Bulletin employed the same fact-checker as The Big Lead.