48° Good Evening
48° Good Evening

Opening schedule will test Knicks and Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony smiles as

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony smiles as he walks onto the court during the first quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Credit: AP / Charles Krupa

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Their opening-week schedule could be taxing on the Knicks' record and Carmelo Anthony's surgically repaired left knee.

But Anthony believes that team president Phil Jackson has assembled a team deep enough to withstand a tough season-opening stretch. That depth also has Anthony willing to listen if the medical staff tells him to miss a game from time to time to rest his knee -- even if it's in week one.

"We have a deeper roster, whereas before I think that was my problem in the past," Anthony said after practice Monday. "I've been afraid to just take a game here, take a game there thinking I had to do it all by myself. We're not in that position right now.

"I'm not going to fight it [if he is told to sit]. I know my body better than anybody else knows my body. I got to be smart about it. If it's a time where I got to take a game off, then I'll take a game off. Hopefully it won't come down to that."

The Knicks tip off the regular season Wednesday night in Milwaukee. They open with a back-to-back and play three games in four nights, four in six and five in eight. All are against playoff teams from last season -- the Bucks, Hawks, Wizards, Spurs and Cavaliers.

Anthony can't say whether he will be able to play in every game. He hasn't played in a back-to-back since Jan. 28 and 29, which was less than a month before his surgery. The Knicks have 16 this season, down from 22 in 2014-15.

"That ain't going to be my first and that ain't going to be my last," Anthony said. "Opening week is always a tough week. So we got to monitor it and be careful with that and not try and go get it all in the first week. We got to be smart about that.

"I'm going to want to play, but I'm going to see that first game and then after that I'm going to gauge it game by game."

Derek Fisher said the Knicks have had "internal discussions" about how many minutes per game they would like Anthony to play as they try to keep him healthy.

As it stands, they likely won't have starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo (strained left hamstring) against Milwaukee and could be without backup big men Kevin Seraphin (sore right knee) and Lou Amundson (sore lower back).

Fisher wouldn't divulge who will start at shooting guard Wednesday night, but Sasha Vujacic did in the three preseason games Afflalo missed. Cleanthony Early is another candidate.

The Knicks won't be at full strength and have a tough stretch to open the season, but Anthony believes they still have enough to get off to a good start.

"I was actually excited about our schedule," he said. "Just knowing the excitement that's surrounding our team and the players, and we get a chance to open with some playoff teams right away. So we get tested right away. I love that."


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports