Carmelo Anthony's Health is Crucial to New York Knicks Success

By A.J. Speier
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Carmelo Anthony was healthy and the New York Knicks had the Eastern Conference’s best record?

Injuries have plagued the Knicks all season long, but Anthony’s injury has hurt them the most.

The Knicks currently have the Eastern Conference’s second-best record at 21-9, but are just 3-3 in games when they are without Anthony.

Without Anthony, the Knicks have had to rely more on 3-pointers, and their pick-and-role offense since they don’t have any healthy players that thrive in isolation situations besides J.R. Smith.

Anthony is averaging 28.5 points this season and his new dedication to being an all-around player with trust in his teammates has made him an MVP candidate.

Due to the Atlantic Division being a surprising weak division, the Knicks hold a 5.5 game lead over the Brooklyn Nets, who are the second-best team, but the Knicks clearly can’t afford to be without Anthony for a long period of time.

A variety of injuries have made Anthony miss two-game stretches. He suffered a lacerated finger against the Charlotte Bobcats on December 5, a sprained ankle against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 13, and then his most recent injury, a hyperextended knee, which came against the Lakers on Christmas Day.

Currently, Anthony still feels swelling in his knee and has had difficulty walking, so it’s still unknown whether he’ll be able to play in the Knicks next game, which is against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I haven’t figured that out,” Anthony said. “It’s getting better. Today felt much better than it did yesterday. Yesterday I was barely able to bend my knee. Today I am walking much better. With an injury like that I am hoping (for Portland), but I want to take it day-by-day.”

The Knicks flew home from Sacramento on Saturday and will practice on Sunday and Monday before a Tuesday matchup with the Trailblazers.

Follow A.J. Speier on Twitter @Ajbisons for articles, news, and all things NBA

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