Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks may have gotten an early Christmas present as it doesn't appear the ankle injury he suffered Monday night against the Magic is too severe.
The Knicks said Anthony has a sprained left ankle and is a game-time decision for the Christmas Day game against the Thunder. Anthony already said Monday night, "It's Christmas in the Garden, I don't want to miss that game" and coach Mike Woodson said Tuesday afternoon he would listen to his star player.
"I trust Melo," Woodson said on 98.7 FM ESPN-NY. "This is my third year with Carmelo. He's a tough competitor, tough kid. I trust everything about him in terms of how he's thinking. The medical people will kind of lead us in the right direction in terms of where he is. We'll assess everything tomorrow morning and then we'll make a decision."
The news isn't as optimistic for Raymond Felton, as expected. Felton won't play Wednesday due to a sprained right groin. The Knicks said he will be re-evaluated again Wednesday to determine the timetable for his return
Both players left Monday's 103-98 win over the Magic in the second half. It was obvious that Felton's injury was more serious. When Anthony tried to walk after sustaining his ankle injury he was limping. When Felton tried walking he collapsed to the floor. Afterward he said he "heard a pop."
Woodson called Felton "day-to-day," but he also said that rookie "Toure' Murry will become a player now that Raymond's back out again." So it sounds like the Knicks are planning for Felton to miss some time.
Felton was playing his first game after missing the prior six with a strained left hamstring. He was relieved it wasn't the same leg, but he was definitely concerned knowing he and Anthony would be re-evaluated Tuesday in New York.
"Pray for us," Felton said. "I'm serious, though."
If the 9-18 Knicks weren't in the Eastern Conference they might need divine intervention. They're only two games out of the last playoff spot and 2 ½ in back of Atlantic Division-leading Toronto.
The Knicks are a long way from being a playoff contender and from being whole.
Woodson said Kenyon Martin could return Wednesday from a strained abdominal muscle that sidelined him the past five games. But the Knicks won't have Felton and Pablo Prigioni and Metta World Peace's status remains up in the air. World Peace said he would have platelet-rich-plasma therapy on his surgically repaired left knee on Jan. 6, but he also hoped to play before then.
"Since I've been here, we've really been an injury-prone team," J.R. Smith said. "But we've always had guys who can step up and fill those roles. That's what's going to have to keep happening. Injuries are part of this sport. You have to have guys who can keep up consistently and make plays.
Felton's situation could lead to the Knicks ramping up their pursuit of a point guard. They already have had discussions with the Raptors about Kyle Lowry, who remains available. Perhaps they will renew talks for him.
The Suns reportedly are considering moving Goran Dragic. The Knicks -- and many other teams -- likely would have interest. But the Knicks might not have the assets the upstart Suns want.
The Knicks biggest concern, though, is Anthony's health. If the Knicks are going to make any jump in the standings it will be nearly impossible without him. The Knicks struggle to score when he's not on the floor.
They were up 20 on Orlando when Anthony left, and the lead was cut to one. But the Knicks made some key shots and stops late to secure the victory.
Anthony was in the practice facility getting treatment Tuesday and Woodson said it would continue throughout the night. If he plays Wednesday, he could be limited against Kevin Durant and the Thunder, and the Knicks have to hope he doesn't worsen his ankle.
"We got to weigh it out," Woodson said. "When he wakes up and comes in we'll have to assess it at that time."