Carmelo Anthony may be out for the year, but he’s still around his teammates often.
The Knicks centerpiece spends time rehabbing his injured knee at Madison Square Garden. He stretches, works with trainers, hangs out with teammates — you know, the usual stuff a hobbled player would do. But come game time, ‘Melo is nowhere to be found.
Often, you’ll see a player throw on some of his fanciest clothes, especially someone who loves fashion as much as Anthony, and sit on the bench behind his teammates during games. The Knicks star doesn’t do that, though. Now, as explained by Marc Berman of the New York Post, we have an idea as to why:
Coach Derek Fisher said he wasn’t sure of the reasons, but a Knicks official later said it was due to the fear of a hustling player crashing into the bench where Anthony might be sitting. Anthony’s surgery took place six weeks ago. It’s unclear if he will be on the bench by the time the season ends April 15.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher didn’t confirm that story. He also didn’t deny it. From that same report:
Asked whether Anthony chooses not to sit on the bench for safety issues, Fisher said he didn’t know. “You can ask him that if you ever get a chance to talk to him or the medical staff,’’ Fisher said. “There’s been no discussion whether Carmelo would be sitting on the bench when he’s recovering from a major knee surgery.’’
If Anthony were really itching to be at the games, you’d have to imagine he would find a way to do it. Just sit in the second row of bench chairs or get the Dolans to give you one of the seats behind where the Knicks congregate during games. Heck, go sit in the owner’s box and spend a few hours with James Do … actually, don’t do that.
It’s reasonable of both Anthony and the organization to worry first and foremost about the health of the team’s highest-paid player. How many of these current Knicks are even going to be back next season? Does ‘Melo’s absence during games really mean he’s not supporting the squad? This isn’t 2014 Kobe Bryant going on vacation before the season ends or missing team pictures. There is legitimate (supposed) method to this madness.
Of course, it is a bit ironic if the Knicks are, in fact, worried about ‘Melo’s health purely from sitting on the bench when this is the same organization that allowed him to play in the All-Star Game knowing he would need surgery. It’s the same organization that let him rush back from injury and potentially worsen his condition just so he could participate in a game that took place in London earlier this year. If you’re totally cool with those things, then it’s kind of weird you’re afraid to let ‘Melo sit down, relax and not move. Of course, associating with a 61-loss team doesn’t exactly help his brand in the way the "All-Star ambassador" title does.
Optimistically, though, the Knicks are being cautious. Whatever the reason that may be, it has to bring some solace to a few of the die-hards out there.