Rasheed Wallace missed last night's 131-103 loss to the Rockets with a sore foot, the Knicks announced 20 minutes before tip-off. That should have meant a chance for Marcus Camby to actually play in his new hometown, but he never left the bench and remains in an odd role in coach Mike Woodson's plans.

Camby has lived in Houston since 2005, his wife being a native. But the Rockets were too busy with other maneuvers to make Camby their top priority last summer and keep him home.

So Camby moved on to the Knicks — with whom he had played from 1998 to 2002 — to a role that has become unclear as Kurt Thomas played as the big man off the bench, with one rebound and one block in 10 minutes. Camby, who has played in just four of the Knicks' first 11 games this season, dressed for the first three but was only going to play in an emergency because of his conditioning after almost all of the preseason with a calf strain.

Camby kept his Houston home, and for Thanksgiving played host to several players for dinner, including J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Ronnie Brewer and Chris Copeland. "We watched football, played some dominos, had good food,'' Camby said.

Before the game, Woodson said Camby's playing time is not going to be a sure thing every night because he still is not in game shape. Woodson went with an eight-man rotation Wednesday in Dallas, excluding Camby and point guard Pablo Prigioni. Woodson said the eight-man rotation was extreme and doesn't plan on going that short with his bench this early in the regular season.

But when asked if Camby would be part of the mix every night, Woodson demurred.