Knicks say Carmelo Anthony doesn’t sit on bench due to fear of player diving into him

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Carmelo Anthony is out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

As one of only four Knicks with a fully guaranteed contract for next season – with Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early – Melo should be back on the court for New York next season (though that’s not an absolute lock).

In the meantime?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Carmelo Anthony has shown up at the Garden for the last three weeks to rehab before games in the trainer’s room. He goes on the court briefly for light stretching and to talk to teammates before retiring to the locker room to mingle some more. But he still hasn’t sat on the Knicks bench as rehabbing Kobe Bryant has for Lakers games.

Coach Derek Fisher said he wasn’t sure of the reasons, but a Knicks official later said it was due to the fear of a hustling player crashing into the bench where Anthony might be sitting.

Melo played through his injury just so he could participate in the All-Star game in Madison Square Garden. Yet he can’t even sit on the Knicks’ bench now?

Of course, taking one risk does not mean taking another is wise, even if that second risk is lesser.

This also might make sense. Maybe injured players unnecessarily put themselves in harm’s way, and Melo is ahead of the game. Maybe even active players should wait in the tunnel or locker room until they check into a game.

Or maybe this is going a bit too far.

And remember, this wasn’t necessarily Melo’s choice. Someone else in the organization could be instructing him on where to watch games.

But I know this: Whoever revealed this reason did Melo no favors. This just makes Melo look soft.