By Ben Golliver
Carmelo Anthony told reporters Wednesday that he plans to leave the Knicks' current road trip to receive treatment on his ailing right knee.
New York's All-Star forward played just 22 minutes in a 117-94 loss to the Nuggets in Denver on Wednesday, forced from action early by the same knee that caused him to miss three consecutive games earlier this month. Anthony will return to New York to have fluid drained from his knee on Thursday, the New York Post and New York Daily News reported. It's not yet clear how long the treatment will take or when Anthony will be able to re-join the team.
Earlier this week, Anthony said that he expected the knee would give him trouble for the rest of the season but that he would continue to play through the pain. At the time, he also indicated that surgery was not an option on the table.
Anthony finished with nine points (on three-for-12 shooting), five rebounds and three assists in his first return visit to Denver since the Nuggets traded him to the Knicks in 2011. That performance came one game after a rought night in a loss to the Warriors on Monday, which saw him finish with 14 points (on four-for-15 shooting).
The Knicks first cited an unspecified right knee injury when Anthony left a game against the Cavaliers last week after tripping over his own feet. Coach Mike Woodson said afterward that Anthony was “hurting” and had asked out of the game prior to his fall. Anthony underwent an MRI, which revealed no damage.
New York is in the midst of a five-game road trip and will next play at Portland on Thursday. The trip then continues on to Los Angeles, for a Sunday date with the Clippers, before wrapping up on Monday night in Utah against the Jazz.
Anthony is only one of three prominent Knicks currently battling knee injuries. Tyson Chandler also left Wednesday night's loss with a left knee contusion but the New York Times reported that the Knicks' All-Star center is "probable" for Thursday night against the Blazers. The Knicks announced last weekend that forward Amar’e Stoudemire will be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing his second knee procedure of the season.
Anthony, 28, is averaging 27.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season. He is on the books for $20.5 million this season, $22.4 million next season and $24.4 million in 2014-15, although he has an early termination option on the final year of the deal. Wednesday's loss dropped New York to 38-24 on the season. The Knicks are currently the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed.