LAS VEGAS -- Carmelo Anthony insists his left knee is feeling fine and all indications are that he is ready to start playing again.
Anthony, however, won't play in the Team USA showcase game Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
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"I didn't get cleared to play yet," Anthony said after Wednesday's practice, the second day of the USA Basketball minicamp. "If I was cleared to play, I would play. I wouldn't turn basketball down."
Despite not being cleared to play in a game yet, Anthony took part in spirited one-on-one sessions with Team USA assistant coach Monty Williams. He was able to post up and routinely hit jump shots.
Anthony said his rehab from surgery to repair his patella tendon continues to go well, adding there was no cartilage damage.
"I felt it a little bit opening night against Chicago," he said. "I felt it again when we went to Cleveland the next night. I wasn't trying to figure out what it was at that point in time because some days were better than others."
One concern for the Knicks is how soon Anthony can play a full game. He has not played in a game since the All-Star Game in February. Anthony's ability to get back into playing shape will be key to how the Knicks start the season.
"I'll deal with that when the time comes," Anthony said. "As I start pushing it and taking my rehab, workouts and training up another level, I'll know where I am at as far as if my legs are underneath me."
Anthony is not the only star making a return to the NBA from injury this offseason. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant is returning from a foot injury.
"Our league missed those two guys last year," LeBron James said. "It was great to see KD and Melo back on the court today just going through workouts. Not only is it great for Team USA for sure to have both guys out here, it is also great for our league. And I know they are excited about what the future holds for them."
LaMarcus Aldridge, who signed with the San Antonio Spurs last month, also is glad to see Anthony back on the court. If things had worked out differently, they could have been teammates in New York.
"It was an honor," Aldridge said when asked about Anthony wanting him to sign with the Knicks. "We had some good conversations about it. We were looking forward to playing together.
"It was serious the whole time. It didn't work out, and it's OK because they got a big guy [7-3 rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis] that they love now."