MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Carmelo Anthony said he took a big risk in electing not to have offseason surgery on a left shoulder he described as "messed up."
Anthony revealed he had a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff. If he had opted for surgery, he said he would have missed four to five months and wouldn't have been ready for the start of the season. Instead, he went with his "gut" and decided to rehab and strengthen it without surgery. He said he feels great now physically and with his decision to forego surgery.
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"I'm ecstatic," Anthony said before the Knicks lost to the Celtics, 111-81, in Saturday night's preseason game. "To go from having a torn rotator cuff, a torn labrum to not needing surgery or taking a risk and a chance of not getting surgery and letting it heal on its own, I took a huge risk in doing that. That just meant I had to put more time in the offseason to get that right."
This doesn't mean Anthony won't aggravate the injury this season, but it could be one of the reasons Mike Woodson is sliding him back to his more natural small forward position and playing him with 7-foot power forward Andrea Bargnani.
Anthony excelled at power forward last season, averaging a league-leading 28.7 points, but took a physical beating by playing bigger and stronger guys.
Anthony hurt his shoulder April 14 against Indiana. He said he knew right then that something major had happened.
"I was being a little naive," he said. "I had a feeling it was torn or something like that from when it first happened. Once it happened, I knew something was wrong with it. It was a labrum, rotator cuff. There was all type of stuff going on in there. It was messed up.''
During the Knicks' first-round series against the Celtics, Kevin Garnett yanked on Anthony's left arm when he was trying to help on defense, exacerbating the injury.
All things considered, it's amazing and impressive that Anthony was as effective as he was in the postseason. He averaged 28.8 points and hit 40.1 percent of his shots in 12 games. The fact that he was able to play through the pain was part of the reason he opted not to have surgery.
"That was like the last resort," Anthony said. "All the doctors, we sat down and I just asked them what's the chances if I don't get the surgery, what's going to happen if I do get surgery? If I'd gotten surgery, I probably wouldn't have been able to start the season. I would have been out four to five months due to the severity of the tear that I had. I decided not to do it.
"I knew what I felt when I was playing through it last season. With it being a little bit better, I'd be OK."
Anthony didn't play in Saturday night's game at Verizon Wireless Arena, but it had nothing to do with his shoulder. Woodson gave several veterans the second game of this back-to-back off. Starters Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler and subs Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih also sat out.
For Anthony, it was a welcome night off, especially after he made a decision to do everything he could to be healthy for the start of this season.
"I just wanted to gather all the information I could gather about the shoulder and about surgery and about setbacks and also if I didn't get the surgery," he said. "I took the chance. Everybody gave me the pros and cons about getting surgery, not getting surgery. I just had to go with my gut on that one."
Notes & quotes: Woodson was unhappy with the Knicks' effort in this game, in which they trailed by as many as 37 points. "I'm a little disappointed about how we competed," he said. "You've got to be proud to wear a Knick uniform and tonight it was an embarrassment. I take full responsibility for that because I'm not happy about that." . . . Ike Diogu and Toure Murry scored 21 and 16 points, respectively. Andrea Bargnani had 11 and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. added nine, shooting 3-for-16.