Carmelo Anthony Expects to Play Tonight for Depleted Knicks

Special to ZAGSBLOG

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The wounded Knicks finally got some good news on the injury front.

Carmelo Anthony, who has missed the past three games and six of the past eight with fluid in the back of his knee, is probable to play tonight against the Orlando Magic at MSG.

The Knicks return home after going 1-4 on a West Coast swing that culminated with a 90-83 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday.

“He’s still probable,” coach Mike Woodson said. “If something changes between now and the arena, but I’m thinking he is going to play tonight so we will see. Having Melo back is a major plus for our offensive flow…Melo’s been great at scoring the basketball and everybody around him has benefited from it as well. So it’s important to have [Melo] back.”

Anthony was more certain than his coach that he would be in the starting lineup.

“I feel good as of right now, so I’ll be ready to play tonight,” Anthony said. “It was tough for me to sit and watch them play. It was tough for me to be out there not at 100 percent with them. It was hard for me to watch that, win or lose.”

Anthony, the second leading scorer in the NBA, has missed 13 games this season, with the Knicks going 6-7 in those games. With the Knicks coming off a 1-4 road trip and losing five of their past seven games, Anthony knows the team needs to get back on track as quickly as they can.

“We got to get it going, as far as on the court, winning games, and getting healthy,” he said. “That’s always the case, guys just got to get healthy.”

Tyson Chandler remains out with a small bulging disc and could miss a week. Amar’e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace are down for the rest of the regular season with injuries, and Kurt Thomas is out 2-4 weeks with a stress reaction in his right foot.

Without all those bigs, Woodson said Kenyon Martin will start alongside Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni.

Jason Kidd, who had X-rays on his left wrist after the Jazz game that came back negative, is fine according to Woodson and will play tonight.

The No. 1 goal for the Knicks right now is to win the Atlantic Division, which would be their first since the 1993-94 season. The Knicks are only a game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and 3.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics.

“That’s our goal [to win the division],” Anthony said. “That’s been something we have been thinking about this whole season. That’s a goal we set at the beginning of the season at training camp and its still there.

“As of right now we are still where we belong and we just have to take care of business down the stretch.”

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