AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Knicks coach Mike Woodson hated to see Kurt Thomas go.
New York released the NBA's oldest player on Friday, a necessary move with the team gearing up for the NBA playoffs.
"It's a major loss because Kurt is a major part of what we're doing here," Woodson said before the Knicks faced the Cavaliers. "But we had to let him go because he won't be able to play in the playoffs."
The 40-year-old Thomas has been sidelined the past month with a stress fracture in his right foot. He missed 12 games.
In a release, New York general manager Glen Grunwald said the team let Thomas go "due to a rash of injuries to our big men, we felt that it was important for us to free up a spot on our roster."
The Knicks filled the roster opening by signing free agent center Solomon Jones, who previously played for Woodson in Atlanta. The 6-foot-10 Jones had been playing in China. Solomon, who was expected to get playing time against the Cavs, was with New Orleans and the Los Angeles Clippers last season.
New York has been hobbled by injuries to frontline players Tyson Chandler and forward Kenyon Martin, who sat out Thursday's loss to the Chicago Bulls that ended the Knicks 13-game winning streak. Both are sitting out Friday's game as well against the Cavaliers, but guard Raymond Felton was in the starting lineup despite "tweaking" his right knee on the first possession of overtime against the Bulls.
The Knicks are already without big men Rasheed Wallace and Amare Stoudemire, and backup center Marcus Camby has missed most of the season with foot problems.
Thomas, an 18-year NBA veteran averaged 2.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10 minutes in 39 games with the Knicks this season. He first signed with New York in 1999 as a free agent. This was his second stint with the club.
"Kurt is a total pro, and we're on the same page," Woodson said. "We'll probably look at him next season once he gets healthy, and if he ever wants a job coaching, I'll bring him in right away."
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