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“Anthony had been struggling with a mysterious leg ailment for several weeks before getting fluid drained from his right knee Thursday. He said this morning that he was confident that his knee and hamstring injuries will no longer hamper him. "I'm not thinking about my knee. I'm not thinking about anything. I feel good," Anthony said. "Now I'm just playing ball at this point." Anthony missed three games earlier in the month and tried to return March 11 against Golden State. It was clear that night, and in the Knicks' next game against Denver two nights later, that Anthony wasn't himself. He shot 7-for-27 in those two games and removed himself in the third quarter of the Knicks-Nuggets game due to knee pain. It was Anthony's first game in Denver since he was traded to New York in 2011. "It was tough to be out there not at 100 percent with [his teammates]," Anthony said. "It was just tough overall. It's hard for me to sit back and watch that, win or lose." Before he decided to sit out and rest his knee, Anthony was struggling with his shot as well. In the eight games before Anthony sat out of the Knicks' March 6 game against the Pistons, he shot just 36.6 percent from the field and made just nine of 44 attempts (20.5 percent) from 3-point range. Prior to that, Anthony was shooting 45 percent from the floor and hitting 41 percent of his 3-point attempts. "Melo wasn't Melo when he was going through his problems with his knee," coach Mike Woodson said. "Hopefully that's all behind him and he can move forward with it." The Knicks are 6-7 in games without Anthony, who is second in the NBA in scoring (27.5 PPG). New York averages 4.5 fewer points per 100 possessions when its leading scorer is on the bench.
I'm not thinking about my knee. I'm not thinking about anything. I feel good. Now I'm just playing ball at this point.” -- Carmelo Anthony
Anthony has said that he won't need offseason surgery, and he's confident that he is not trying to come back too soon this time around. "I'm not rushing back. I know how important this stretch run is for us, for me, for our whole organization," he said. "I went out there and tried to play hurt, banged up. It didn't work. I was only hurting my teammates by going out there and trying to play. So I'm not rushing back." If Anthony plays Wednesday, Woodson said he will start him alongside Kenyon Martin and Iman Shumpert on the Knicks' front line. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni are expected to start in the backcourt against the Magic. The Knicks will be without Tyson Chandler (neck) and Kurt Thomas (foot) against Orlando. Chandler is expected to miss a week with a small bulging disk in his cervical spine. Thomas is expected to be out two to four weeks with an acute stress reaction surrounding a chronic stress fracture in his right foot, according to the Knicks. With Amar'e Stoudemire (right knee) and Rasheed Wallace (left foot) expected to miss at least the remainder of the regular season, Woodson huddled with general manager Glen Grunwald to talk about the possibility of adding a player to the roster on Wednesday. The coach said the Knicks will stand pat -- for now. "We'll have a better feel as we go up the road here in the next couple weeks I would think ... but at this point our team is pretty much set. That's where we stand as I speak today," Woodson said. The Knicks are holding out hope that Thomas, 40, Wallace, 38, and Stoudemire can return during the playoffs. "I think our team as it stands today is what it is and we're going to have to try to get Kurt and Rasheed back," Woodson said. "We've just got to keep pushing because they're under contract and their still a part of our ballclub, so we've got to still invest time in them and try to get them back out on the floor as well." The team may reconsider its stance on adding a player if it becomes clear that one of the injured veterans can't make it back to the court for the postseason. "If that's the case, then we might have to," Woodson said. The Knicks front line will be awfully thin for the foreseeable future. Woodson said veteran Marcus Camby will not be able to play big minutes down the stretch of the regular season. If the Knicks want to add a player, they would have to cut someone from the 15-man roster. New York enters play Wednesday in first place in the Atlantic Division, a game ahead of Brooklyn. The Knicks are in third place in the Eastern Conference, 1½ games behind Indiana. Despite all of the Knicks' recent injuries, Anthony is confident that his team can maintain its lead in the Atlantic. New York enters play Wednesday in first place in the Atlantic Division, a game ahead of Brooklyn. The Knicks are in third place in the Eastern Conference, 1½ games behind Indiana. Despite all of the Knicks' recent injuries, Anthony is confident that his team can maintain its lead in the Atlantic. "As of right now, we still believe we will win our division," he said. "We're going to win our division. That's our confidence at this moment." Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.