With the best record in the Eastern Conference, the 14-4 New York Knicks are in no rush to get forward Carmelo Anthony back.
New York head coach Mike Woodson told ESPN Friday that his superstar was still day-to-day with a lacerated finger suffered against Charlotte, but Anthony is known to get itchy on the bench.
During his nine year career, Anthony has only missed 66 out of a possible 576 games, the most coming in the 2006-07 season when he missed 17 with Denver, and that was mostly due to a 15-game suspension for fighting with then-Knick Mardy Collins.
New York fans should not be worried about Melo’s healing abilities or his durability. Currently the NBA’s third leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, Anthony has never had a major injury or required reconstructive surgery, just typical sores and tweaks that come with playing 82 games in seven months.
His only injury that could be designated as serious came in the 2008-09 season, when Anthony missed about three weeks with a broke bone in his hand.
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The five-time All-Star tested his stitched up middle finger before New York’s 112-92 trouncing of the defending champion Miami Heat Thursday night, and Anthony along with the team decided it was best for him to cheer from the bench.
He may sit out Saturday’s game at the Chicago Bulls due to soreness around his cut, but speculation has pegged his return for Sunday’s home matchup with the Denver Nuggets.
Winners of five straight, the Knicks are now the NBA’s only unbeaten team at home, and have proved resilient without their stars this season. To start the year, New York burst out to a 6-0 start after learning Amare Stoudemire’s knee injury could sideline him for up to two months.
They responded the same way against Miami, and were led by Raymond Felton's 27 points and career-high six three-pointers. Felton is notching 15.9 points and 6.9 assists per game, and New York is third in the league in 3-point percentage, nailing 12 per game at a clip of 40.7 percent.
Thursday was undoubtly one of Felton's best games as a Knick, but he's just one of several players to step up during the season. Steve Novak continues to fire away from downtown, and J.R. Smith is making a case for Sixth Man of the Year with 13.5 points and nearly five boards a game.
With all three playing this well, Woodson can rest easy with Anthony on the bench and the Knicks can continue to steamroll the East.