Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony sit on the sidelines during...

Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony sit on the sidelines during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 25, 2013. Credit: Errol Anderson

Carmelo Anthony said his sprained left ankle "was a lot worse'' than he originally thought and isn't sure yet if he will play Thursday in San Antonio.

Anthony, who suffered the injury on Dec. 23 in Orlando, has missed the past three games. He said he did some running Sunday and Monday but was limited in practice.

"It was worse than I thought," he said. "The night that I sprained it, I was trying to get back in the game. I went back and taped it up. As soon as I walked out of that locker room, I couldn't do it. Then the next day, it swelled up on me big time. It kept swelling, so we had to get control of that first and then go from there. So it was a lot worse than what I actually thought."

This was the first time Anthony spoke since landing on the foot of former Half Hollow Hills West standout Tobias Harris in the Magic game. He said he hasn't undergone any further tests, and when asked if he will return when the Knicks open a three-game Texas trip against the Spurs, he said: "Hopefully.''

He added, "I'm getting there. I feel a lot better. There's still some things lingering. But each day it's getting better. Still some swelling in there, still some tenderness. Eventually I'll have to play with a little bit of tenderness, a little bit of pain.''

The Knicks lost all three games he missed, by a total of 56 points, and are tied for the NBA's third-worst record at 9-21. Anthony never could have imagined that. He continues to say they have to "find a solution" and "figure it out," but he isn't sure what it will take.

"To be honest, I really don't know what's going to happen," he said. "I can't be too concerned about that. I just got to worry about playing ball and whatever happens happens."

Playing with more effort and having fewer defensive breakdowns would help. Anthony said effort shouldn't be an issue.

"The effort is definitely not there some days, or it's there and then sometimes it's not,'' he said. "We've got to get some consistency from that standpoint."

He added, "We shouldn't be talking about lack of effort and inconsistency from that standpoint. But we are and we've got to find a solution to that. The solution is just to go out there and just do it. You can't teach having energy on the court and having effort out there on the basketball court. It's just got to happen."

Anthony said the players still are listening to Mike Woodson. "Coach Woodson is a strong person, a strong-willed person," he said. "His message is definitely getting through to people, especially through to me and guys who've been here and understand the situation, guys who not so much have been through a situation like this but have had tough times throughout their career.

"So we understand it. It's so easy to just fold in this moment right now. So his message is very clear throughout this locker room."

Notes & quotes: The Knicks have agreed to terms with big man Jeremy Tyler, according to league sources. Chris Smith, J.R's brother, will be waived to clear room for Tyler, who had been playing for the Knicks' D-League team. On J.R. Smith's Twitter account, he posted an Instagram photo Monday with the words: "You know the sad thing about betrayal? It never comes from an enemy." Smith wasn't available after practice. Woodson said Smith just did some shooting, calling it "a precautious day" after he logged 82 minutes over the weekend despite "flu-like symptoms." . . . Woodson doesn't expect Raymond Felton (groin) to play Thursday.

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