They are not there yet. Specifically Carmelo Anthony is not there.
“I’m playing because I love to play and I want to play. I know what I can tolerate and what I can’t tolerate,” Anthony said recently when saying he had no plans to shut it down for the season, and that he hopes to avoid the “last option” of surgery.
But the day he shuts it down may be coming sooner than he wants — none other than coach Derek Fisher is saying that, as reported by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
“From the conversations I’ve been a part of, I think everybody is smart enough to realize, calendar wise, timing wise, that there may come a point that that’s the decision that needs to be made,” Fisher said Friday. “But [we realize] that we can’t force Carmelo to that point just yet….
“We can’t unilaterally just say, ‘Hey, you know, you can’t play for the rest of the season because of A, B and C,'” Fisher said. “I think our medical staff, our training staff, continue to have conversations with him about where he is. He’s conversing with us about how he’s feeling, what the symptoms are. And so as each day kind of unfolds, decisions are being made. It’s not something that we’re just kind of stepping back and saying, ‘Carmelo, you kind of tell us when you don’t feel like playing anymore.'”
There are a couple issues in play for Anthony. First, he just inked a five-year, $124 million deal to stay in New York and he wants to show he is working for that money, that he is worthy of that money. Second, the All-Star Game comes to the Knicks home court of Madison Square Garden in six weeks and Anthony is likely to be one of the starting forwards in the East voted in by the fans. He doesn’t want to miss that.
But will his body let him play that long? Fisher seems to be hinting no.
Also, with a 5-30 team, the Knicks are terrible and going nowhere. Certainly not the playoffs. What’s the point of pushing through the pain when the best you can do is make your team’s season mildly less of a disaster.