Here's a depressing tidbit in advance of Friday night's Knicks-Heat game: Carmelo Anthony isn't going to be in uniform, but Eddy Curry will.
It could be worse: Curry could be wearing a Knicks uniform instead of the Heat duds, but this is plenty bad as it is. The way the Knicks have played this season wouldn't give them much of a chance if Melo was in the lineup for the Miami game, especially if Dwyane Wade makes his return to the lineup, but they have almost no shot without him.
A little (more) short-term pain could be worth it if it leads to a brighter tomorrow, though. That's the hope for Anthony, who will also miss Saturday night's game in Houston, and the doctors who met to make the decision on Friday morning.
"I was trying to be a super hero but I was hurting the team," Anthony said, via Frank Isola of the Daily News.
Anyone who has seen Anthony play in the last two weeks knows that he is suffering from a wide variety of injuries that are keeping him from playing anything close to his best basketball. He has wraps, bandages and assorted other medical devices on his wrist, thumb and ankle, all of which have contributed to a sharp drop in his play.
Getting Anthony right is going to be crucial if the Knicks hope to turn things around after this string of seven losses in eight games, so giving him time to do nothing but heal certainly makes a lot of sense at this moment in time. It could make for a pair of ugly losses in the next two nights, but simply running Anthony out there and hoping that he magically returns to health simply isn't a viable option.
If you want to be an optimist, maybe the losses won't be so ugly or even losses at all. Without Anthony, the Knicks could try to play a bit more up tempo on offense without finding themselves needing to run the ball through Melo on most trips down the court.
Even as he has looked to involve his teammates more over the last two games, the offense does flow differently when Melo is on the court. Giving the other players a chance to run the show could pay some dividends even if the odds are stacked against that happening.
And, should it happen, get ready for the mother of all tabloid meltdowns. If you thought anti-Melo rancor was running high now, just try to imagine what the reaction would be if the team wins two games without him in the lineup.
Not a pretty picture, although it isn't going to be any more attractive if the Knicks return to the Garden on Tuesday night with a 7-13 record. All of which leads us back to the starting point of it not being a particularly inspiring time to be rooting for the Knicks.