Knicks coach Mike Woodson made more than a “my bad” mistake when he acknowledged that Carmelo Anothony had asked to be removed from Monday night’s game before his knee injury. Tuesday, Woodson revealed in an interview with ESPN New York 98.7 that Melo asked him earlier in the game to leave because of discomfort in his right knee, and Woodson decided to keep him in the game anyway. At 6:42 remaining the second quarter, Melo aggravated that injury after tripping without contact, left for the locker room, and did not return. Tuesday, the Knicks officially announced that Anthony has been diagnosed with a sore knee and is listed as day to day, which means he probably won’t be playing in Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
Woodson called Anthony’s injury “alarming” (oh really, YOU THINK!) during his interview on “The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show” and admitted his decision to leave the star forward in the game was “stubborn.”
Melo was hurt. For him to ask me to come out of the game before he actually took that spill made me realize that something wasn’t right. He’s never ever, ever, even hinted about coming out of the game [before Monday]. I play him too much in that regard. Melo’s a trooper — he’s a warrior, he’s a tough kid.”
When Woodson was asked during the interview why he chose to leave Anthony in the game after he requested to come out,
I should have [taken him out]. Stubborn coach — I just didn’t.”
Woodson thought he needed Melo to help him recover from the 22 point deficit that the Knicks were enduring, and granted they did rally back to win the game 102-97, but a win is not worth putting a players health at risk, especially after your star player ASKS you to be seated. In knowing Melo’s persona, he would not have asked to come out of the game in midst of a 22 point deficit if he wasn’t truly feeling discomfort in that knee. The question now becomes, can we trust Mike Woodson’s decision making? This one incident may have caused a much heavier stir if the injury had been more severe than just a sore knee. But the MRI revealed no structural damage.
Anthony did say on Monday that his knee had been bothering him in recent days:
Today I just woke up, and you know how some days you really don’t feel right,” he said after the game. “I came out here and I tried to warm up and I thought it was going to loosen up before the game, but some of the things that I was doing, I felt like I was dragging it.”
The 28-year-old Anthony is the NBA’s second-leading scorer at 28.2 points per game, but sometimes you have to put trust in your bench and trust that your other guys will step up. Thinking as a coach during the game, of course you believe they are tough, and of course you know players can and will play through and injury, but next time Coach Woodson, if Melo asks you to remove him from the game, you make like Nike and “Just Do It”!