Anthony suffered a left middle finger laceration on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, and he was a gametime decision heading into Thursday night's game. While he went through the team's walk-through Thursday morning and put up some shots before tipoff, he didn't feel healthy enough to play.
"He went out and he tried to shoot around, but he came in and told us it didn't feel right," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said after the game. "This is a long season; it is a marathon. One game is not going to determine our season."
Tyson Chandler told reporters after the game that Anthony wanted to suit up, but the center advised him not to.
"Honestly, I figured he wasn't playing," he said. "He kept saying he was all 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."
The Knicks shocked the world in Miami winning by 20 points -- also the point differential at the Garden in their first matchup Nov. 2 -- without their star player. Make that two stars, when you include Amar'e Stoudemire, who's recovering from left knee debridement and plans to return on or around Christmas.
Chandler said the blowout victory proved how deep and composed the Knicks are this season.
"It says a lot for our team when you can have a guy like that, at that caliber, out and still you're able to get a win against the defending champs on the road, on a back-to-back," he said.
"It just shows what type of team we have, how good we are, how together we are," he said. "Having all those guys out there, losing Melo in last night's game, and being able to come in and beat a team at this caliber, in their building, it says a lot about our team. But we're still not satisfied. It's still early in the season."
That's what Chandler expressed to Anthony, and he even suggested after the game that the small forward should not return until next week.
"It's just important that he gets some scar tissue before he comes back," he said. "I think he shouldn't come back until we get back to New York. But we'll see how his finger heals."
Even with the Knicks' big win on Thursday night, which improved their record to an Eastern Conference-best 14-4, Chandler is not forgetting how important Anthony is to the team.
"He's having an MVP season," he said, "and, of course, we need him on the floor."