Carmelo Anthony to have long-awaited surgery, will be out for the season

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Carmelo Anthony to have long-awaited surgery, will be out for the season
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As has been long suspected, Carmelo Anthony will not play another game for the New York Knicks this season, following his duties as an All-Star Game ambassador. Anthony, who was the only Knick to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game in the Knicks’ Madison Square Garden home, will undergo season-ending surgery to hopefully repair lingering issues in his left knee.

The Knicks, after little speculation from the media and fans regarding what seemed like an obvious move, confirmed as much on Wednesday. A statement from the team’s website briefly discussed the decision:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that Carmelo Anthony will have season-ending left knee surgery. The procedure, which will be performed by Team Orthopedist Dr. Answorth Allen, includes a left knee patella tendon debridement and repair.

Knick president Phil Jackson, at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, then added this:

If you’ll recall, Amar’e Stoudemire also dealt with “debridement” issues in 2012, and his time on the shelf was limited to just six to eight weeks. Of course, Stoudemire also had a second debridement operation on his knee performed later, his health has completely fallen off the map in the years since, and he and the Knicks agreed to a buyout on Sunday:

This isn’t to say that Anthony will follow down the same path as Stoudemire – far from it. Amar’e’s contract with the Knicks (penned in 2010) didn’t even come with an insurance policy due to his long-standing back and knee issues, and he had a microfracture operation over seven years prior to that initial debridement surgery. Still, for someone in Anthony who has been dealing with knee pain for over a year now, this is worrying.

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The Knicks have been terrible this season, partially by design after a hoped-for attempt at a lower-rung playoff spot fell apart. The team is obviously in full rebuilding mode, trying out future rotation candidates and letting rookie coach Derek Fisher learn on the fly. This is why the team dealt J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert – combustible, yet contributing – for just about nothing. This is why the team let Stoudemire go despite the clear respect for his attempts to comeback from myriad injuries.

This is also why the team is signing off on Anthony’s season. With his knee woes possibly dating back to 2013, however, why didn’t the team encourage him to sit earlier? Especially if it meant a better chance in this spring’s draft lottery?

Carmelo Anthony was always pegged to act as the Knicks’ team representative. A player to make money as the punters at MSG looked on, a player that would hopefully recruit other stars to New York this summer, and (less importantly) someone to attempt to keep the Knick jokes to a minimum as he struggled his way through a 6-20 shooting performance at the All-Star Game.

Nobody was acting as a cynic when they correctly assumed, weeks ago, that Anthony would manage to stay active long enough to not only be voted into the All-Star Game, but play and then be shut down soon after. For the Knicks to not even send Carmelo through a few token contests following the break speaks to Phil Jackson’s transparency in this matter. Jackson might be another in a long line of failed Knick saviors, but at least he’s coming clean via his actions – the Knicks needed Anthony in front of that spotlight through last weekend, and now the soon-to-be 31-year old is going to need some time off.

The Knicks will fare terribly in his absence. Due to injury, Anthony has had a down year by his standards, but the Knicks were an even-more miserable outfit without him on the court this season. They’ve gone winless in 13 games without him, and an Anthony-less Knick squad short on rotation-worthy players is going to have a tough time pulling out another win between now and the season’s end.

That’s not hyperbole. Phil Jackson’s offense is designed to create something more compelling than the sum of its parts, but Fisher will have a tough task scratching out a lone win in 29 Anthony-less tries. Knick fans certainly don’t want the embarrassment of the team ending its season on what would be an NBA-record 34 game losing streak, but a lot would have to go right even in contests against the similarly-tanking Lakers, Timberwolves, and 76ers (whom the Knicks play twice) to cull a win.

New York already has the worst record in the league. The decision with Anthony is the best move for all sides, but it is also one that should have Knicks fans worrying all the more about the over $101 million they owe Anthony between now and 2019.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!