We thought the knee injury Carmelo Anthony suffered against the Heat earlier this week might jeopardize his ability to play this Sunday at Madison Square Garden in the 64th Annual NBA All-Star Game. Instead, he said on ESPN Radio today he will play, “even it’s just for a few minutes,” but then admitted it might his final time playing in front of his home crowd this season. Surgery looms.
Melo’s decision to play doesn’t mean he’s suddenly pain free. Per ESPN, it’s clear he’s only suiting up to give those fans who voted him as a starter the chance to watch as he jab steps, winces, and attempts to whisk through the nylon.
“Even if I come out and just play a couple minutes and just wave,” Anthony said. “I don’t think the fans deserve (his missing the game). They voted me in for a reason, so at least I can show them that I appreciate that by just participating in the game.”
Even though he’s going to play on a gimpy knee, and missed last night’s 89-83 loss to the Magic, Anthony seemed pretty certain Sunday will be it for this season — the first of his new five-year, $124 million deal he signed over the summer.
“It’s very likely. It’s very likely. Now I’ve got to start thinking about the future,” Anthony told Marc Stein, Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo in an interview on ESPN Radio. “This season is this season. So I really want to just sit down with my team and sit down with the proper people to just kind of plan this thing out and see exactly what I have to do to get done and just to fix it.”
There have been rumors ‘Melo might shut it down for a while — dating back to earlier this year. The Knicks have been holding him out of games and limiting his minutes as much as possible without defaulting as overtly as the Sixers seemed to earlier this season. The presumption now is he’ll have surgery so he doesn’t have to miss any workout opportunities over the summer.
“That’s why if anything was to get done, I want to get it done right away so I’m not taking time and missing training camp and things like that,” Anthony said. “When I come back to training camp, I want to be sharp.”
‘Melo reiterated his thoughts from earlier this year when he talked about the lagging knee, and how it’s affected his game throughout the course of the season:
“It’s little things that I’m doing out there on the court,” Anthony said. “I’m restricted, I’m not getting that power or that bounce, and then to do something like I did today, I think I’m getting closer to that point. I think due to the lack of movement, the lack of explosiveness I have right now — I’m just trying to compensate and try to figure it out as it goes along.”
Knicks fans get to watch him one more time, but playing for the Eastern Conference instead of their 10-43 NBA bottom-feeder. The NBA All-Star Game almost never features jeers or booing, unless the refs blow the whistle too often for palming and traveling, but there could be some diehards orange and blue fans in attendance who boo Melo’s lost 2014-15 season, one that will likely terminate with his eighth All-Star game appearance.
If Anthony elects to have surgery, which is pretty likely right now, it’ll coincide with what could also be Amar’e Stoudemire‘s last game with the Knicks as they work on a buyout over the breake The forward-pairing never really took off in New York, and now both will be gone for the second half of the season.