A multitude of injuries to Carmelo Anthony could further hamper the New York Knicks as they try to break out of a rough stretch.
Visiting the Miami Heat as Dwyane Wade returns likely won't make things any easier.
With Anthony ruled out, the struggling Knicks might have a particularly hard time Friday night getting a third consecutive victory over a Heat team which is welcoming Wade back to the lineup.
Losers in seven of its last eight games and still seeking cohesiveness, New York (7-11) could be the NBA's biggest early disappointment.
"I can't really put my finger on it right now," Anthony said. "I can't figure it out."
In addition to a sprained wrist and ankle, Anthony also is now dealing with an injured right thumb. The Knicks said Friday morning that he was going to be shut down for a few days, meaning he will miss at least this game and Saturday's visit to Houston.
The thumb injury plagued Anthony on Tuesday as he went 0 for 7 from the field and finished with one point during a 111-78 rout of Charlotte. The next night at Cleveland, he scored 15 points while shooting 5 of 14. While his performance was a bit better, the Knicks could not overcome another subpar game from their star and lost 91-81.
"There's no frustration," Anthony said of his health. "I'm thinking about my body. There's a lot going through my mind right now. It's a tough situation right now due to the circumstances, but I'll get it figured out. I'll tell you that."
Anthony's 29 points keyed a 91-86 win at Miami on Feb. 27 in the most recent matchup between these teams, a game that came less than a week after the Knicks acquired him from Denver. New York won the final two meetings with the Heat in last season's series after dropping the first two.
Despite coming off consecutive games in which they scored more than 110 points, the Knicks were held below 90 for the fifth time in nine games Wednesday. Amare Stoudemire had 19 points and 14 rebounds, but the Knicks scored only 36 in the second half and committed 22 turnovers overall at Cleveland.
"We've got to find a way to score," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're not scoring the basketball."
That challenge gets tougher against the Heat (13-5), who have given up an average of 91.8 points while winning five of their last six.
"We're getting there," Miami forward Shane Battier said.
Miami has been succeeding without Wade, who has missed the last six games with a sprained ankle. However, he participated in Friday morning's shootaround, and the team announced later in the day that he would return for this game.
Wade averaged 28.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the four meetings with New York last season.
LeBron James made six straight free throws in the final 1:19 and finished with 32 points Wednesday as Miami recovered after blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to win 101-98 at Detroit.
"We've got to close out games," James said. "We know we're going to get the best shot from everybody. To be able to be down late in the game and then come back and win, it was good stuff for us.''
James had 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 113-91 victory at New York on Dec. 17, 2010, in his first game against the Knicks as a member of the Heat.
Chris Bosh, averaging 28.8 points in his last four contests, averaged 21.3 and 9.7 rebounds in three games versus New York in 2010-11.