All-Star forward and NBA leading scorer Carmelo Anthony left the New York Knicks game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday due to what appeared to be a knee injury, causing some concern for the organization and fans alike. Anthony appeared to stumble over his own feet in the second quarter before getting up gingerly and heading to the locker room, ending his night after only 14 minutes of play.
The Knicks managed to climb back from a 21-point deficit to beat the Cavaliers, but if Anthony has to miss any time as a precaution or for a more serious injury the Knicks will need to rely on Amare Stoudemire to carry them until Anthony returns.
Stoudemire has been the fall guy for the Knicks struggles over the last couple of seasons but the high-paid forward has actually played well in a reserve role for the Knicks this season, averaging 13.6 points and 4.7 rebounds just 22 minutes per game. The Knicks coaching staff has kept Stoudemire on a strict minute restriction since he returned from knee surgery, but those restrictions may need to be revised if Anthony isn’t back sooner than later.
The only other Knicks players besides Anthony that are capable of creating their own shot are Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith, and both have been erratic shooting the ball this season. Anthony’s league-leading 28.6 points per game will be hard to replace for a Knicks teams that is battling for playoff position. If Anthony misses any time Stoudemire will need to step up and carry the load to keep the Knicks from slipping further in the standings.