Anthony to likely miss Lakers game

DENVER – Don’t expect Carmelo Anthony(notes) back in uniform for the Denver Nuggets’ Western Conference showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Anthony told Yahoo! Sports late Wednesday that his sprained left ankle will likely force him to miss at least the next two games.

Anthony missed his sixth straight game Wednesday when the Nuggets lost to the Phoenix Suns and hasn’t played since injuring his ankle Jan. 23 against New Orleans. He plans on attending Denver’s two-game road trip against the Lakers and Utah Jazz in case he heals faster than expected, but he’s more hopeful about returning to face the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

“I’m feeling a little better, but the loss didn’t make me feel better,” Anthony said after the Nuggets fell 109-97 to the Suns. “I don’t know when I’m coming back, man. They’ve been saying that I’m going to play since last week. I know my body better than anyone.”

Anthony said he tested his ankle for two hours on the court Tuesday, but had trouble pushing off.

“I can run up and down the court and shoot,” he said. “All that felt the same. Actually, it felt better. But my first step is slow. I don’t want to get out there like that.

“I could’ve went out there [Wednesday] and played, but I got to be real cautious. I’m not going to play unless I’m 100 percent. I’m not going to play 70-80 percent. If I can’t push off … that’s my strong point.”

Rex Chapman, the Nuggets’ vice president of player personnel, said it was evident upon watching video of the Jan. 23 game that Anthony injured his ankle worse than initially thought.

“None of us really saw it when it happened, but looking at it on video, he really turned that thing over,” Chapman said. “Initially, we thought it might be a couple games. He worked out really hard yesterday with [assistant coach] John Welch, but even John said, ‘Hey, he can’t explode.’

“We’re not kidding anybody. We need ’Melo to be the best that he can be. This is something that makes no sense to rush in February.”

Anthony was named a starter for the Western Conference in the Feb. 14 All-Star Game in Dallas. But if he doesn’t return to the court soon, the Nuggets will likely re-evaluate whether he should play in the game.

“It hasn’t gotten to that point, but over the next couple days [if he’s still out] you have to think about it,” Chapman said. “We can’t have him go out there and try to test it in the All-Star Game.”