The New York Knicks will welcome J.R. Smith back from a five-game suspension Sunday when they face the San Antonio Spurs.

Smith, suspended for breaking the NBA’s anti-drug policy, will come off the bench and will be limited to 30 minutes, coach Mike Woodson told

“We’ve just got to make sure that mentally he’s there,” Woodson said. “And I can’t burn him physically.”

That decision is also based on the fact that Smith is returning from surgery to repair his left patella tendon and a lateral meniscus in his left knee. The minutes limit will help Smith, who is still working to regain explosiveness in his left leg, on which he jumps as a right-handed finisher at the rim.

Smith signed a three-year, $18 million contract. After signing the deal, he had surgery a week later rat

her than doing so before securing a deal.

“I can’t wait (to return),” Smith said. “I’m anxious more than anything. I just want to do so well for my teammates.”

Smith will re-join a 2-3 Knicks team that could use his help. Without him, they’ve suffered losses to the Charlotte Bobcats, Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls.

Their biggest loss, however, came when big man Tyson Chandler fractured a bone in his right left, an injury that will keep him out the next 4-6 weeks. The Knicks have started Andrea Bargnani in his place, as Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin both work their way back from injury.