It doesn’t take a doctor to watch Carmelo Anthony play recently — well, before he sat out the last five games — and see his knee was really bothering him. He didn’t have much lift. That’s why the Knicks organization was pushing him to shut it down and get surgery if that is needed.
It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look ahead on the schedule, see the All-Star Game in New York City Feb. 15, see that Anthony is on track to be voted in a starter, and understand he wants to play in that game. Which is why Anthony said he will not yet shut it down yet.
When Phil Jackson stepped in front of the media Saturday and accepted the responsibility for the Knicks’ disastrous season, he also basically confirmed that Anthony is trying to avoid surgery and wants to hang on until the All-Star Game, via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
“I think for Melo the last resort is surgery, as it should be for anybody,” Jackson said. “Surgery is basically to repair and to correct. He’s got a situation that could exacerbate, could get difficult, could be better with the surgery, but he wants to really try it again and see where he’s going to be at. The next period of time we’ll assess that and we’ll sit down and talk to him about it. I know the All-Star game (at Madison Square Garden) is important for him down the road in February. I know this trip to London (for the Knicks game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan .15) will be important for him to play. He sees possibilities of helping the team get back and be better.”
Jackson threw in the towel on the “get back and be better” plan this week when he traded J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in a salary dump. The Knicks aren’t going to get better, which is just fine for a season — since this is the one year owner James Dolan didn’t (couldn’t, actually) trade away their first round pick the Knicks are in line for a top player. That helps. The roster needs a lot of talent on it.
It also needs a healthy Carmelo Anthony. Even if we don’t see that guy until next season.