Carmelo Anthony is second in the NBA in scoring.
Carmelo Anthony is second in the NBA in scoring. Reuters

The New York Knicks have gotten off to one of the best starts in franchise history.

At 21-8, the Knicks have a six-game lead in the Atlantic Division. They’ve been able to stay at the top of the Eastern Conference, even without one of their biggest stars for the entire year.

Amare Stoudemire has missed every game with a knee injury. The surgery he underwent was supposed to keep him out for a few weeks, but now it looks like he’ll miss the entirety of the first two months,

However, Stoudemire could make his return as the Knicks ring in the New Year. The big man is targeting a return on Jan.1. New York is scheduled to host the Portland Trail Blazers on New Year’s Day.

There has been concern among Knicks fans how Stoudemire will affect the team’s chemistry and hot start to the season. The six-time All-Star has said on multiple occasions that he will do whatever it takes to help the team win, even if that means coming off the bench.

In Stoudemire’s absence, Carmelo Anthony has carried the Knicks offensively. He’s second to only Kobe Bryant in points per game. Anthony is one of the leading MVP candidates this year, though he’s had a difficult time staying healthy.

Anthony missed his fifth game of the season on Wednesday night, as the Knicks visited the Phoenix Suns. New York needed a last-second shot by J.R. Smith to defeat the 11-17 Suns, without Anthony.

The forward suffered a hyperextended left knee on Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Lakers. He was able to play through the injury on Tuesday, but head coach Mike Woodson said it worsened over night.

Before the Knicks game on Wednesday, Woodson labeled Anthony’s status as “day-to-day,” and wouldn’t speculate on whether or not he’d be able to go against the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

It’s the third different injury Anthony has suffered this season. He missed two games with a lacerated finger that he suffered while diving after a ball in Charlotte. Anthony missed two more games after spraining his ankle in the Knicks first game against the Lakers.

Raymond Felton also missed Wednesday’s contest. He was originally listed as day-to-day, but the injury is worse than originally anticipated.

The point guard has a fractured finger, and will miss four-to-six weeks, at the most. The 28-year-old claims the injury won’t end his season, even if he needs surgery.