Carmelo Anthony returns; Mike Woodson will try to limit his minutes

Carmelo Anthony (7) drives against Miami Heat forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half of a game at Madison Square Garden. (March 3, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Carmelo Anthony hopes a week of rest and treatment was the right remedy for his injured right knee.

Anthony returned to the Knicks' lineup Monday night against the Warriors after missing the previous three games because of a sore and stiff right knee. An MRI revealed there is fluid buildup in the back of the knee. But Anthony has ruled out having the fluid drained and says he won't require offseason surgery to fix the problem.

"No, not at all," Anthony said. "It's nothing of that nature. It's just a matter of the knee getting tight behind. It's nothing in the front of the knee, no pain, no soreness, just some irritation. That's it."

But there is concern about Anthony's health because he revealed Monday that it's been an issue for close to a month and it's still unclear what the problem is.

"Nobody can really give me an exact answer on it," Anthony said. "There's no pain, no ligament damage or anything like that. There's just some fluid in the back of the knee that's preventing me from hyperextending my knee sometimes."

He added, referring to this season, "I don't think I'll ever be 100 percent."

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Anthony said he didn't have a sense of urgency to return because Amar'e Stoudemire had knee surgery Monday and will miss the rest of the season.

Anthony said the plan all along was to take a week off and return for the start of this five-game trip. It continues Wednesday in Denver, where he will play for the first time since forcing a trade from the Nuggets to the Knicks in February 2011.

Mike Woodson said he will try to limit Anthony's minutes and keep him closer to 35 than 40 going forward. Anthony likes the sound of that but realizes some games might require him to play more.

"If he wants to limit my minutes, I'm all for it," Anthony said. "But if I'm going to come back to play, I'm going to come back to play."

He said his knee started bothering him Feb. 13 against Toronto, the Knicks' last game before the All-Star break. He played in the All-Star Game and each game after that until he tripped and fell in the first half in Cleveland March 4.

There has been no indication that Anthony has undergone more tests than the MRI he had at some point before the Cavaliers game. He also said he and the Knicks' medical staff talked about draining the knee, but he was against it.

"I'm not a big fan of getting needles," he said. "I'd rather get the natural treatment and see if the fluid can drain out by itself and get out with the treatment I get."

He also said no one has been able to ascertain whether it's from wear and tear from playing as much basketball as he has in the past year. He played throughout the summer with the U.S. Olympic team and has had little time off.

"We've been trying to figure it out, myself, the team doctors," Anthony said. "It could have been something that stemmed from back at Christmas when I hurt my knee in L.A. And now, over time, it came back and I probably agitated something like that."

Anthony said it was the same knee, but he injured his left knee in Los Angeles.

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