GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Carmelo Anthony, who is trying to return to the Knicks' lineup for their game in London on Thursday, admitted Monday that he probably is going to need surgery on his injured left knee.
"I'm pretty sure at some point that's going to be my only option," he said. "But until that time I can't sit out . . . I feel like if I can go out there and play some more and continue to play, then I'm going to do that. I'm pretty sure there will come a time where I have to make that decision to sit out and take the proper procedure and get what I need to be done.'
The Knicks (5-35) are bringing a 15-game losing streak across the pond. Anthony, who is in the first year of a five-year, $124-million contract, said he is unsure if he will play on Thursday against Milwaukee. He went through a limited practice Monday before the team headed to the airport.
"I want to play," Anthony said. "I want to play, period. Sitting on the sideline is kind of not my thing, not my cup of tea. But I want to get out there in London especially and play. I still have a couple more days to finish off my program and see where I'm at. If I'm not there Thursday, if the [medical] staff thinks I'm not there Thursday, then I won't play."
Knicks president Phil Jackson said on Saturday that Anthony is targeting the London game and the Feb. 15 All-Star Game at the Garden. Anthony said he's not looking to be one (or two) and done -- he wants to stay on the court if he returns. But for how long?
"I'm not just trying to go through this program just to play in London and then sit out," he said. "Once I'm back playing, I'm back . . . I mean, the easiest thing for me to do right now is just to call it quits and just give up and say I'm going to go take care of what I need to take care of right now. But I want to be out there with these guys, with my teammates, regardless of what's our record, regardless of how we're struggling on the court. I feel like if I have an opportunity to go play, I'm going to go play."
Times have changed for Anthony and the Knicks since the last time they played in London.
Two years ago, a playoff-bound Knicks team beat the Detroit Pistons, 102-87, as Anthony scored 26 points in London's O2 Arena. Just five months earlier, Anthony helped the United States win the Olympic gold medal at the same venue.
That Knicks team improved to 25-13. Anthony scored at least 20 points for the 25th straight game.
NBA fans in London likely will have difficulty identifying most of the Knicks, with or without Anthony. Still, the trip itself should be an oasis for the Knicks in this desert of a season.