PHOENIX -- The first question to Mike Woodson before Wednesday night's game naturally was about the state of the Knicks' several injuries coming out of Tuesday's loss to the Lakers.
But no one expected his answer to begin with Carmelo Anthony's name, and the news that he would miss the game against the Suns because of a hyperextended left knee.
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The mini-bombshell left the Knicks without two starters, because point guard Raymond Felton also sat because of the sprained right pinkie finger he suffered battling Steve Nash for a loose ball.
Felton thinks he might have torn ligaments. "Right now it's a sprain," Felton said. "I won't know more until halftime [of Wednesday night's game] and it gets an X-ray. It's sore and it hurts."
The (tentatively) good news for the Knicks is that neither injury is expected to cause a long layoff, or so it seemed when the coach said neither player is scheduled to have further medical tests and both are "day-to-day."
Anthony has missed four games this season before this one (ankle and finger) and the Knicks were 2-2 in those games.
"We just have to move forward," Woodson said. "We have guys in uniform who are ready to play. We just have to get them going."
Both Anthony and Felton sat in the trainer's room of the visiting locker room at the US Airways Center before the game, in clear view of reporters, but declined to make themselves available.
Anthony was hurt during the Lakers game when Marcus Camby fell backward into his lower leg. He was limping after that game but insisted he would play in Phoenix.
Woodson said the extent of Anthony's problem was not evident until Wednesday morning, at which point both he and Felton deemed themselves unable to play. "They slept on it and got up this morning and couldn't do it," the coach said. "I just have to respect that and keep it moving and get the other guys ready to play . . . Both of them made the decision. I mean, they couldn't go.''
Woodson declined to speculate on a potential timetable for Anthony. "Don't know," he said. "I'm sure if he could play he would play, so obviously it's bothering him."
But Woodson said it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture for the sake of one late-December game. He also said the injuries would open more playing time for players who usually get little, such as White and Pablo Prigioni.
"It gives other guys an opportunity to step up and play," he said. "I'm kind of anxious to see who's going to do that."
Felton had been in a slump of late, presumably related to bone bruises in both hands. The sprain finally pushed him to the bench.
"Raymond is a tough cookie, man," Woodson said. "He plays hurt. I've known that throughout his career. That was one of the reasons we brought him on board is he's tough on both ends of the court."