|That's why you always listen to your star player. (Getty Images)|
New York Knicks' forward Carmelo Anthony is still day-to-day with the knee injury that knocked him out of the game during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. At the time of the injury, the Knicks were getting destroyed in Cleveland and Anthony had just asked coach Mike Woodson if he could come out of the game.
Woodson waited to sub Melo to the bench, and the Knicks paid the price. Soon after the request by Anthony, he received a pass at midcourt and just fell over while trying to turn his body toward the basket. He lost the ball and stayed on the floor before walking off the court during the next dead ball, heading to the locker room to be evaluated by the medical staff.
The Knicks' coach was on ESPN Radio in New York and admitted it was his fault for being stubborn and keeping his star in the game. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
So if Carmelo Anthony asked you to take him out of the game, why didn't you when he asked?
“I should have. But stubborn coach, I just didn't. We're down 22, I'm going to leave one of my best players in the game. Maybe I should have taken him out before he actually stumbled and took the fall. Again, I'm thinking the game. I'm thinking he'll play through it, he'll figure it out. But hey, he was hurting. He walked out after he took the spill and he didn't come back. That's not Melo-like. Obviously his knee was bothering him.”
There was also some questioning of Carmelo and whether his request to leave the game while the Knicks were getting blown out by Luke Walton, Marreese Speights and the rest of the Cavaliers was just an attempt to get out of an embarrassing game at the time. Did he use the injury as an excuse to leave the game? Woodson took exception to such questioning of Anthony's character.
Did Carmelo Anthony bail out of the game against Cleveland before falling and did he use that fall as an excuse to leave the game?
“I definitely don't agree with that. Carmelo Anthony has been a driving force for what we have been about since I have been here as a head coach. … I wish you wouldn't even think that way, that he walked off. … The game was out of hand, but 22 points in this league is nothing. I've seen teams come back from that deficit. Melo was hurting, and for him to ask me to come out of the game before he even took that spill made me realize that something wasn't right. He's never, ever, ever hinted about coming out of the game. I play him too much in that regard. Melo is a trooper. He's a warrior. He's a tough kid, so we read you when you say something like that.”
The Knicks came back and won with a strong second-half effort. If Melo was faking or exaggerating the injury to avoid playing in a perceived blowout loss, he probably would have rejoined the team once the Knicks got back in the game, right?