Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Should Melo play against the Bulls?

By Ian Begley

Tyson Chandler thinks his buddy Carmelo Anthony should think twice before setting foot on the United Center floor on Saturday.

Chandler believes it's more important to have Anthony healthy for the long run than it is to have him in uniform for a road game in early December.

"It's just important that he gets some scar tissue before he comes back," Chandler said. "I think he shouldn't come back until we get back to New York. But we'll see how his finger heals."

Assuming he has the same skin-healing qualities as the rest of us, Carmelo should sit out of Saturday's game against Chicago.

Anthony has five stitches sewing up a laceration on his left middle finger, a cut that he suffered late Wednesday night against Charlotte.

It's on his non-shooting hand, but you can be sure it's bothering him.

If it wasn't, there's no way he would have sat out of the Knicks' win over Miami on Thursday.

I'm sure there is a segment of Knicks fans who questioned Anthony's toughness on Thursday. But there's no reason to.

The reality is, even if the Knicks had lost in Miami, Anthony sitting out was the right move.

Regardless of the opponent, we're talking about one game in mid-December here.

What's more important: having Anthony on the floor at less than 100% against Miami or having him at full strength for the final 60-plus games of the regular season?

Chandler, who had a closer look at Anthony's cut than the rest of us, advised Melo not to play Thursday.

"Honestly, I figured he wasn't playing," Chandler said. "He kept saying he was all (right) yesterday, but that's adrenaline and that's his pride knowing coming into Miami and wanting to play. But I told him last night to sit out; it's not worth it. That laceration can easily bust back open and then we lose him for even longer."

Same thing applies against Chicago on Saturday.

I understand that the Knicks are trying to win their division and gain home-court advantage in the playoffs, so every game counts.

But rushing Anthony onto the floor Saturday would be a mistake. Unless his finger has healed significantly in the past 24 hours, he should sit against the Bulls.

Because if Anthony goes down for an extended period of time, the Knicks will have bigger things to worry about than losing one game in mid December.

Question: What do you think? Should Anthony play tonight?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

You can follow Ian Begley onTwitter.