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'Melo likely out; Smith, Davis may play

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP)

Carmelo Anthony is unlikely to play Sunday against Dallas, but J.R. Smith and Baron Davis could be in uniform as the New York Knicks move closer to getting to full strength.

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Anthony has missed six straight games with a strained right groin and coach Mike D'Antoni said Saturday it is more likely the All-Star forward returns Monday night against New Jersey.

But Smith and Davis have outside chances to make their Knicks debuts. The Knicks signed Smith on Friday and D'Antoni said his preference is not to play him before he's had a chance to practice, but the shooting guard is in shape after playing in China, so D'Antoni said the team ''will see what happens.''

Davis has been recovering from a herniated disk in his back. He took part in a 3-on-3 workout Saturday, and has regained his conditioning after having to shut it down late last month following an infection in his elbow.

''He's close. He could go, I think he could play tomorrow,'' D'Antoni said. ''We'll see, but I want to work him a little bit gradually.''

So it seems likely Davis will play sometime before next weekend's All-Star break. The Knicks host Atlanta on Wednesday before visiting Miami on Thursday.

''I hope so. Yeah, I am expecting to do that,'' Davis said. ''Just to get out there and see where I am.''

Once those three are back, the Knicks' only absence will be rookie Josh Harrellson, who will return from a fractured right wrist after the break.

''We'll have everybody here pretty soon,'' D'Antoni said.

Tagged: Knicks, Baron Davis, J.R. Smith

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