By Ben Golliver
The Knicks announced Thursday that Carmelo Anthony had his ailing right knee drained and could be available to play on the team's current road trip as soon as Sunday.
Anthony departed early from a 117-94 loss to the Nuggets in Denver on Wednesday, opting to return to New York to have fluid drained from his knee rather than continue with the Knicks to Portland, where they will face the Blazers on Thursday night.
The Knicks' statement said that Anthony "had a soft tissue fluid collection of his posterior right knee aspirated" and listed him as "questionable" for New York's next game, on Sunday against the Clippers in Los Angeles. The Knicks will conclude their current five-game road trip against the Jazz in Utah on Monday.
The same right knee caused Anthony to miss three consecutive games earlier this month. 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.
On Wednesday, 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.
Anthony is only one of three prominent Knicks currently battling knee injuries. Center Tyson Chandler will not play on Thursday night against the Blazers because of a left knee contusion suffered on Wednesday night against the Nuggets.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 27.5 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.