Carmelo Anthony's regular season probably is over, but he still plans to play one more time -- in Sunday night's All-Star Game at the Garden.
Anthony said in an interview with ESPN Radio Thursday that "it's very likely'' he will shut it down after the All-Star Game and have surgery on his left knee. The Knicks' franchise player also said he will play Sunday, even if it's "a couple of minutes.''
He aggravated his knee problem Monday in a loss at Miami and removed himself from the game. Afterward, he said he was getting closer to having surgery and even cast a little doubt on his availability for Sunday.
After Wednesday's loss at Orlando -- a game he missed because of knee soreness -- he said he expected to play in the All-Star Game. Anthony, who signed a five-year, $124-million deal in July, said Thursday he probably will have the knee addressed after Sunday's game.
"It's very likely,'' he said. "It's very likely. Now I got to start thinking about the future. This season is this season. So I really want to just sit down . . . with the proper people to just kind of plan this thing out and just see exactly what I have to do to get done and just to fix it.''
One of the NBA's worst-kept secrets has been Anthony's plan to have surgery at some point after this weekend. If the All-Star Game hadn't been in New York, he already might have had it. But Anthony, who was voted to start for the East, wants to play in front of his home fans.
"Even if I come out and just play a couple minutes and just wave,'' he said. "I don't think the fans deserve [me missing the game]. They voted me in for a reason, so at least I can show them that I appreciate that by just participating in the game.''
Anthony and the Knicks still haven't revealed exactly what is the matter with his knee or the procedure he will undergo. But Anthony said it's a tendon issue, not loose cartilage, that has been bothering him since the second game of the season.
He also said he will be away from the court for about two months and that there is no danger of his not being back in time for training camp.
"That's why if anything was to get done, I want to get it done right away so I'm not taking time and missing training camp,'' he said. "When I come back to training camp, I want to be sharp.''
Anthony is averaging 24.2 points in 35.7 minutes. He has missed 11 games because of the knee and 13 overall, and the Knicks are 0-13 without him.
The rebuilding Knicks are an NBA-worst 10-43, and without Anthony, their chances of getting a top-three draft pick will improve dramatically. They also might be without Amar'e Stoudemire, who could be bought out and waived so he can sign with a contender.
With a high lottery choice and roughly $30 million to spend in free agency this summer, team president Phil Jackson hopes to rebuild quickly. The Knicks could try to shed more salary by Thursday's trade deadline. Jose Calderon, who is owed $15.1 million over the next two seasons, is a candidate to be moved.
Anthony wants to help recruit prospective free agents, and he has said he hopes to begin the process this weekend.
"I can relate to these guys,'' he said. "I compete with them. I know what it takes to play in New York. I know who can handle New York and who can't handle New York.
"If I'm coming to you, that means I really want you to come over here and join forces with me.''
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