The soreness in Carmelo Anthony’s surgically repaired left knee is lingering and forced him to miss Tuesday night’s game.
Anthony said Monday that he planned to play against Oklahoma City. But Derek Fisher said Anthony didn’t participate much in shootaround, which is not a good sign.
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Fisher doesn’t believe the soreness is related to Anthony’s surgery last February. He thinks it is a combination of putting too much weight on his left side after returning last week from a two-game absence because of a sprained right ankle and logging heavy minutes in two overtime games.
“At this point it’s just a sore left knee due to some of the things that we talked about,” Fisher said. “We’re hopeful that it will calm down soon and he’ll be back on the court soon. And if something tells us otherwise, we’ll try to make a decision that’s smart the way we’ve always tried to be.”
Lance Thomas, who missed the previous three games with a sore left knee, started in Anthony’s place.
Anthony said he started feeling discomfort before Friday’s loss to the Clippers. He played Saturday in Charlotte but left the game in the third quarter and didn’t return. The Knicks play Thursday in Toronto. It’s the first night of a back-to-back and three games in four nights, so the Knicks could choose to be cautious with Anthony.
“We’ll just continue to evaluate him and make sure he gets to a place where once he’s back on the court it’s not something we’re trying to monitor or manage every single day,” Fisher said. “It could be day-to-day. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Returning to the Garden is always special for Thunder coach Billy Donovan, a Rockville Centre product and one-time Knick. This was his first time back as an NBA head coach.
“Coming back to New York, having a chance to play or coach, has always brought back childhood memories for me,” Donovan said. “I remember catching the Long Island Railroad and going into Madison Square Garden and buying a five-dollar ticket and trying to work my way down close to the court and being thrown out of my seats.”
The NBA will announce the Rising Stars Challenge participants Wednesday. Knicks rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis is a lock to be selected.