DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony has cut his trip short and has returned to New York to have his balky right knee examined.
The New York Knicks forward scored nine points before leaving in the third quarter of a 117-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night in his first game back in town since being traded two years ago.
"It started tightening up, started stiffening up. Some movements that I couldn't make, movement laterally, felt like I didn't have no pop, no power," Anthony said. "I tried it in the second half, coming out after halftime. I couldn't move."
The Knicks say Anthony had a "soft tissue fluid collection" removed from the back of his knee and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Anthony will miss the Knicks' game Thursday against Portland and has been sidelined for four of the Knicks' past six games because of the knee ailment.
He will have the knee drained, but has no timetable for a return. The Knicks play in Portland on Thursday.
"I'm going to go get it drained, get the fluid out. Get to the bottom of it quick, so I can get back on the court," Anthony said.
Anthony said he might have pushed himself more than he should have in order to play in Denver.
"I was always concerned," he said. "I was being naive to myself, saying OK. Trying to psyche myself out, 'I can do it. I can do it.' But there comes a point where you've got to figure it out and get to the bottom of it and move on."
Looking back, maybe the Knicks shouldn't have let him play. He returned Monday night at Golden State after missing three games with knee pain.
"I kind of rolled with what he was thinking," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "He wanted to play and we played him. The third quarter, he had to pull out. Melo doesn't pull out of very many games. Obviously, it's bothering him. We're going to send him back to be evaluated."
Chandler was helped off the floor by teammates and could not put weight on the knee. He sat out Thursday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Chandler suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in the Knicks' final preseason game but returned to play in New York's season opener.
The first-time All-Star has played in every regular-season game this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.