Here's a video of Carmelo Anthony talking about his knee after he sat the second half of the Knicks' blowout loss in Portland. It frustrates me! It appears to frustrate Melo. He seems melancholy, like just short of choked up. He describes his choice to participate because the Knicks had so few other players available, then feeling pain toward the end of the first half and asking to come out, only to finish the half because there wasn't a stoppage in play. Melo suggests he wanted to keep playing the second half -- he says the team has told him his knee can't get worse, so it's just about how much discomfort he can take -- but Derek Fisher insisted he sit, which is the only reassuring part of this whole thing. Some things:
1. Melo has presumably spoken to doctors. I am not a doctor. My impression, though, is that running, jumping, and changing direction with an unnatural gait increases chance of of further injury. Even if Melo isn't going to exacerbate whatever ails his left knee (do we have an exact diagnosis?), the way he's favoring one leg out there can't be good for the rest of his body. Am I wrong on this?
2. I understand this is a tough moment for Melo to bail. Most of the people who ever score points for the Knicks are already out. Iman Shumpert's recovering from an acute injury while J.R. Smith, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Andrea Bargnani have been resting more chronic issues. Melo probably feels like he'd be leaving his team to perish (which...yeah, he would, but what's the difference and who cares?)
3. I'm really curious what Bargnani's deal is at this point. It could just be that he and the organization are already done with one another so they're letting him sit out the end of his contract. But damn, if Bargnani's healthy enough to play, how great would it be for him to act as Melo's understudy, stepping up to lead the Knicks so the star could sit? He could put up great numbers in a long string of losses and maybe even earn himself another contract somewhere in the process! 'TIS YOUR DESTINY, ANDREA.
4. I really wish Cleanthony Early were healthy. This would be the perfect opportunity for the Knicks to find out what they have in Cle.
5. It sounds like the team -- or at least Fisher -- wants Melo to sit, either for rest or surgery, and it sounds like that point will come eventually:
Asked Fish if there's a point where it makes more sense to shut Melo down. "Weve expressed our opinions to Carmelo" but ultimately up to him— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) December 29, 2014
Anthony said could come a point later on this season organization advises him to do so or "fix it."— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) December 29, 2014
I'm curious, then, what the holdup is, because...
6. We're not dying. Or at least I'm not dying. It's hard to watch games right now, and I'm sure Melo and the Knicks feel at odds with the grumbly MSG crowd, but I think many of us get it. No one reasonable believes a team with 5 wins at calendar's end has any destination but the lottery, and a lot of us would prefer the Knicks accelerate toward that destination. The Knicks themselves? Yeah, they're dying. But death is part of the cycle, like a forest fire. It is a controlled death, albeit a more fiery one than a lot of us expected. Fierier may be better in the long run, as much as it sucks while it's happening.
That's all. I wish Melo would sit, and I get the sense that the Knicks want Melo to sit. I hope he decides to do that sooner rather than later, because this process of starting, stopping, and having to explain himself each night isn't fun or productive for anyone, and I worry it might hurt him more.