MEMPHIS -- Even though he had no feeling in it, the sprained left wrist really was no big deal. Carmelo Anthony kept on playing through that. It was the sprained right ankle that did what defenses can't: It stopped him. Anthony hopped off the court, went to the locker room and did not return to a Knicks team that hasn't been able to stop putting the "off" in offense.
Without Anthony for most of the second half, and with Amar'e Stoudemire battling foul trouble all night, the Knicks had nowhere near enough firepower to avoid losing to the Grizzlies, 94-83, Thursday night at FedEx Forum.
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X-rays of Anthony's ankle were negative, so the only thing that was broken was the Knicks' winning streak, which had been four games. Credit 26 points by Rudy Gay and a 16-2 third-quarter spurt from the Grizzlies. Much more important to the Knicks than the streak, of course, was the run of bad news about their top scorer.
"I can deal with the wrist. I can wrap the wrist and play through that," Anthony said, having done just that after a collision on the defensive end in the first half, when he tried to fight through a pick. "A sore ankle is a little bit more to deal with."
So there was no telling if he will be able to play against the Thunder in Oklahoma City Saturday night. But Anthony was confident that this is not a long-term injury.
"I'm beat up," he said. "I want to see how I feel by Saturday. I'm not going to force it. If my ankle is not right by Saturday, then I'll be looking at Monday. I'm working around the clock, trying to get back. I don't want to take too much time off, but I want to be healthy at the same time."
He wasn't sure of the particulars about the ankle injury, which occurred with less than two minutes gone in the second half after the Knicks went into intermission down 49-38. He was competing with the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol for a loose ball in front of the Knicks' bench. Anthony -- second among forwards in All-Star balloting released Thursday -- recalled trying to get out of Gasol's way and feeling the ankle turn.
The Knicks' offense, which had not been all that great even in the previous victories, really took a bad turn. Not that the start was so great, either. Stoudemire picked up two fouls in the first 1:38. He never did find his rhythm (1-for-7, six points).
Said Mike D'Antoni, "He needs to get more involved, we need to do a better job of getting him more involved, especially if Melo is out."
Anthony scored 14 points in his 20 minutes, but none of his teammates could compensate when he went out. Iman Shumpert sure did try, hoisting 20 shots and making only five in what generously might be called a learning experience for the popular rookie.
Referring to Anthony, he said, "Tonight we saw how much we've been relying on him to just shoot us out of stuff. We've got to get better, be more crisp. We shouldn't depend on him to bail us out every game."
All of the bailing out has taken its toll. Anthony still had a good feeling in his heart, if not his wrist. "I've been getting beat up for nine years already,'' he said, "so I'm not worried about getting beat up. I'm going to get through it. I'm living. I'm walking. I'm smiling. I'm hurt, but I'll be all right."