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Knicks still unsure about shutting down Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony looks on

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony looks on from the bench against the Phoenix Suns in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, December 20 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - On a day when the Knicks had too few uninjured players to even practice, the question of ending Carmelo Anthony's season and giving his knee a chance to recuperate took another sidestep into uncertainty.

Though coach Derek Fisher did not backtrack from the statements he made Friday -- when he said a time may come for the Knicks to cut their losses and shut down Anthony -- on Saturday he said that for now, it seems more likely that Anthony will only be rested for a week or so.

Anthony is listed as doubtful on the injury report, and Fisher did not even fully rule him out for Sunday night against the Bucks.

If Anthony does not play, it will be the fourth game he has missed because of his knee this season.

"I don't think shutting down is really the conversation that we're having,'' Fisher said. "We're all talking about what's best for him, what's best for the team, and right now, it's taking some rest and recovery for the foreseeable future, in terms of maybe the next week or so.''

But Fisher's own ambivalence was reflected in his evaluation of Anthony's situation. The truth, he said, is that like many of the other injured Knicks, Anthony actually is day-to-day and that -- though Fisher and the trainers can make strong recommendations -- Anthony's opinion carries a lot of weight "because it's his body and his career,'' Fisher said.

Anthony has been hesitant to entertain much talk of ending his season.

"It's day by day and oftentimes, on game days, when we do have shootarounds, that's a pretty good barometer," Fisher said. "So I think that's why I'm reluctant to look too far down the line and say he's not going to play until a point. As a competitor, no matter how you're feeling sometimes, there'll come a point where he wants to get back out there, and that might be tomorrow.''

Fisher maintained, though, that this could very well change: "I still feel strongly that if he or we as a group feel that there's a need to [shut him down], I think that we can get to the point where we can make that decision.''

Meanwhile, the list of injuries for this bedraggled team continues to grow. Though it's likely that Tim Hardaway Jr. (concussion) will make his return Sunday night, Fisher said, the rest of the injury report was less optimistic.

In his second game back from injury after missing the first part of the season, Andrea Bargnani (doubtful) went down with a calf injury after playing only 1:47 in Friday night's 97-81 loss to the Pistons, joining Samuel Dalembert (ankle, questionable), Iman Shumpert (shoulder, out) and Amar'e Stoudemire (knee, doubtful).

Saturday became a recuperation day with no practice.

"We can't practice because we don't have enough guys; you've pretty much got to learn on the fly,'' J.R. Smith said. "It's difficult, but it's something we have to get accustomed to.''

Notes & quotes: Hardaway took his final steps to coming back from a concussion. He took part in a shootaround as part of his completion of the NBA's head injury protocol, Fisher said. "I feel great,'' Hardaway said. "Just had a good workout and I feel fine. I'm ready to go tomorrow.'' Fisher said that if Hardaway shows no ill effects after the pregame shootaround Sunday, he'll be in the lineup.

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