Carmelo Anthony missed another game Friday night because of his bothersome left knee, and coach Derek Fisher said "there definitely will come a time" when the Knicks discuss shutting him down.
Fisher did not speculate Friday about how close Anthony is to getting shut down, but the rookie coach said he's confident from the conversations he's had with him that Anthony won't opt to do anything to jeopardize his status for next season.
"I think everybody is smart enough to realize, calendar- wise, timing-wise, there may come a point when that's a decision that needs to be made," Fisher said. "But we can't force Carmelo to that point yet."
Anthony, who is averaging 23.9 points per game, has called surgery a last resort and is hoping rest is all he needs.
With the Knicks off to their worst start in franchise history -- they are 5-30 and have lost 10 straight and 20 of their last 21 -- Fisher acknowledged Friday that there may be a point when it's in everyone's best interest for Anthony to shut it down and look toward being healthy in 2015-16.
The fact that Anthony decided to sit Friday night could indicate a decision is coming soon.
Fisher also said the Knicks' medical staff is not concerned about Anthony's knee getting worse from playing. Therefore, it's more about how much discomfort he can handle, how it's impacting his play -- and whether going through that process continues to be worth it in this lost season.
Anthony's knee has been bothering him for nearly two months and has shown no signs of improvement. He was not available for comment before Friday night's loss to the Pistons and did not speak afterward, and Fisher said the symptoms that led to the DNP were more of the same -- soreness and discomfort.
Friday night marked the third game Anthony has missed since Dec. 10 because of his knee, but it's been an issue in just about every game in which he's played during that stretch.
He could opt to continue to take games off every now and then while hoping his knee responds to periods of rest, but that's going to be difficult with the schedule the Knicks have coming up. Starting Sunday, they begin a stretch of five games in seven days -- including games against two strong teams in Memphis and Washington -- followed by a trip to London to face the Bucks.
The Knicks know they need to be smart about how they handle Anthony's situation, especially now that the games have become virtually meaningless. Said Fisher, "We'll huddle up and look forward to what's a pretty intense week coming up and make some decisions there."
Anthony was coming off a three-game West Coast swing in which his knee presented problems in each game. He asked to be removed in the first half against Portland last Sunday and scored 19 points in 28:51 in Wednesday's loss to the Clippers before the team flew home Thursday.
"As each day unfolds, decisions are being made," Fisher said. "It's not something where we're just stepping back and saying, 'Carmelo, you tell us when you don't feel like playing.' "
So for now, Anthony's status will be a daily topic of conversation.
"It's a day-to-day thing," Fisher said, "as far as our schedule and the intensity of our upcoming schedule."