Carmelo Anthony can’t afford to let his injured right shoulder affect him. The New York Knicks have four games remaining on their schedule, and it’s possible their playoff dreams could be dashed on Friday.
They’re in Toronto to face the third-seeded Raptors, while the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks are in Brooklyn. If the Nets and Knicks lose, Anthony and company will be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
New York Knicks
Carmelo’s status: Anthony met the media for the first time since Sunday’s game in Miami, and said he would play after getting some rest this week. “They didn’t allow me to do too much,” Anthony said. “I had like two days to just not do nothing, just get the treatment. And then yesterday I just shot, ran, no contact. So I’m trying to save all that for tonight.”
He first hurt his shoulder when he got tangled up with Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson last Wednesday and still doesn’t know exactly what is wrong with it, but said it was a different feeling than when he tore his left labrum and rotator cuff late last season. Anthony does not expect to need surgery, and he doesn’t see the need for tests.
“At this point, what is the test gonna do?” Anthony said. “If they say something’s really bad with it, I’m still not going to sit out, so I’d rather just wait until it’s all over with.”
New York head coach Mike Woodson said he was not worried about Anthony saying he’d play no matter what.
“Melo’s a competitor, he’s a true pro and I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Woodson said. “I know he’s gonna play.”
Scoreboard watching: While nursing his shoulder, Anthony kept his eyes on the Hawks, who earned a come-from-behind win against Boston on Wednesday that spelled trouble for the Knicks’ playoff chances.
“Just to know what they’re doing, watching them, and then knowing our situation, knowing my situation, it’s been a hard week,” Anthony said. “For us it’s just do what we can do at this point, which is win tonight.”
Woodson channel-surfed between Toronto’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers and that Atlanta game, but said the result didn’t make him didn’t break any furniture. “I wasn’t real happy going to bed, but what are you gonna do?” Woodson said. “We just gotta go figure it out ourselves and see what happens, and maybe have a little luck on our side.”
Must-win: Woodson compared New York’s tough task to what he faced as the coach of the Hawks in 2008, when his team qualified for the last spot in the East in the season’s final week. Both Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony did their best to stay positive.
“You gotta somewhat love it,” Stoudemire said. “You gotta be optimistic about it. It brings out the best in you. It’s a back-against-the-wall type of challenge, so you gotta look at it as a challenge and accept it.”
“It’s a big challenge,” Anthony said. “As a competitor it’s a fun challenge, too, because you gotta give it all you got at this point. There’s no time for any mistakes, any slippage. But it is what it is right now. We have to win all four of these games. It’s not a given if we win all four of these games that we still can get in there, but we have to do our part.”