Carmelo Anthony walked of the court on Monday with a non-contact injury, and some have questioned whether or not he quit on his teammates.
The New York Knicks star left as his club was trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers by 21 points. It now appears that the injury may keep the MVP candidate on the bench for a little bit longer.
Anthony is listed as questionable for the Knicks’ Wednesday night game against the Detroit Pistons, and head coach Mike Woodson says the forward could miss even more time.
"Rest will probably be the best thing for him," Woodson said. "He's got to make that commitment. If he wants to sit down and rest a game or two, we'll do that. It's still a long season."
Prior to being pulled from Monday night’s contest, Anthony had complained to Woodson about knee pain. The All-Star reportedly has fluid buildup in his right knee, which was revealed by an MRI.
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Even if Anthony doesn’t miss any time, Woodson has stated that he wants to give his best player fewer minutes. He’s averaging 37.8 minutes per game, but has played more of late. Prior to leaving the game against the Cavaliers, Anthony had played at least 40 minutes in nine of his previous 10 games.
Woodson wants to get Anthony down to about 35 minutes a night. The coach could do so by playing Amare Stoudemire more. The big man has been held to a 30-minute per night limit since returning from knee surgery. However, Stoudemire surpassed that total when Anthony left the game prematurely.
After struggling in his first few games, Stoudemire has excelled on offense. The 30-year-old is shooting 59 percent from the field, and averaging 13.0 points per game off the bench. Still, he is often not on the court at the end of the fourth quarter. He missed the final minutes of the Knicks' Sunday afternoon contest with the Miami Heat when New York blew a late-game lead.
The Knicks coach is leaving the decision to sit out a game or two up to Anthony, saying he’ll let the star forward do what he wants to do.
"Trust me, players know their own body. If he tells me he wants to play, I'm going to play him. I'm not going to fight him on that. I'm not going to fight any player who wants to play when you're talking about a player that can help you win games. If he says, 'Coach I need to sit down and rest a game or two,' I'm going to grant that, absolutely."
New York might be able to afford to play a short stretch of games without Anthony. They are battling with the Indiana Pacers for the No.2 seed in the East, and trail them by a half-game. The Knicks are five games ahead of the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and Atlanta Hawks in the loss column. Those clubs are fighting for the four-through-six seeds.
If Anthony isn’t able to go against Detroit, it will be the eighth game that he’s missed time in the 2012-2013 NBA season. The Knicks leading scorer has suffered through a number of different ailments this year.
Anthony has missed at least two games in a row on three separate occasions, battling a lacerated finger and a sprained ankle. He also sat out a game after being suspended for confronting Kevin Garnett by the team bus.