Now it appears their best player will miss some time with a left ankle sprain and knee and hip soreness, the result of a hard foul Thursday night.
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The Knicks list Anthony as questionable for Saturday night's game against Cleveland. Considering the fall he took after Dwight Howard's foul and how sore Anthony said he was, it's hard to imagine him playing.
Although the Knicks proved last week in Miami that they can win without Anthony, Chandler doesn't like thinking about life without him.
"We don't even want to look to that," he said. "Melo is having an incredible year -- like I said, MVP for sure. Regardless of what kind of year he's having, he's so important to our team and important to our success. Obviously, we ain't going to rush it if he's not feeling it."
After the Cavaliers, the Knicks will face Houston on Monday night in Jeremy Lin's Garden return. You can be assured Anthony wants to play that night.
It could be a positive sign that Anthony didn't require X-rays and the Knicks haven't ruled him out completely for Saturday night. General manager Glen Grunwald said after the game it's not "anything serious." But the Knicks (17-5) have to think about their long-term goals of getting a high playoff seed and competing for a championship.
Anthony scored 34, 45 and 30 points in the last three games, all wins. He said he was "locked in" against Mike D'Antoni's defense Thursday. He was 10-for-15 before the fall that Mike Woodson admitted scared him "a little bit."
Woodson believes the Knicks still have enough to win. "Surely from a coach's standpoint and for our franchise and for our fans, we need every piece of the puzzle," he said. "But we got to feel good that when guys go down, other guys are able to step in and make plays."
Anthony missed the end of the Dec. 5 game in Charlotte after lacerating his left middle finger. The Knicks won on J.R. Smith's jumper at the buzzer. The next night, they buried the Heat with a barrage of threes. The Knicks couldn't shoot straight in Chicago without Anthony two nights later. Then they built a 26-point lead over the Lakers, led by 17 when Anthony went out and held on for a 116-107 win.
"Just goes to show what type of team we are," Rasheed Wallace said. "I think it brings us together more to know somewhere in the back of our mind, we can't let him down. We can't sit up there and have a lot of people thinking it's all Carmelo, all Carmelo. We have other guys that can play, too."