It’s a classic “What Would You Do?” You suffer a deep laceration in the middle finger of your non-shooting hand with 2:10 left in a tight game against the Charlotte Bobcats. But tomorrow night you have a battle against the defending champs, with whom you are tied atop the Eastern Conference, on their home turf. You are your team’s best player. Do you play through the pain on this, the 18th game of the season? Or do you sit?
Carmelo Anthony sat.
In reality, it’s not any of our places to judge whether or not Anthony should have played tonight against the Miami Heat. Anthony was in fact suited up, shot around for 20 minutes or so, and deemed his finger in too much pain — so much so that he could not grip the basketball if he were to put it on the floor. Now, he did not damage the tendon in his digit, but did require five stitches to sew the damn thing up. As per the Daily News here were Anthony’s thoughts Wednesday night:
“I want to play against Miami,” Anthony said after the Knicks defeated Charlotte 100-98. “But at the end of the day I have to do what’s right for my finger. It’s a deep cut. If I can’t play then I’ll see them two more times.”
At first glance, you can’t be happy as a Knicks fan to see Anthony sit out a game like this with an injury like this. Where’s the heart? The leadership and the passion he’s showed in a big way in this early season? Of all games, this is the one the Knicks need him to play. And hey, Mario Chalmers is over on the other bench playing through a ring finger that did indeed have a torn tendon, despite doctors telling him he might be out a week to 10 days after sustaining the injury on Tuesday.
But first glances can be tricky, and it might comfort you to know that the pain was so bad in Melo’s hand that he was throwing up air balls at the shootaround. Sure, his presence might have invigorated his teammates and his fanbase, but would it have been worth it to have virtually only four offensive bodies on the court when Anthony got his minutes? And if the pain was really that debilitating, isn’t it appropriate that he sits this one out?
Admittedly, the timing does suck. Against most other opponents, Carmelo’s decision to bench himself wouldn’t be viewed under such a close lens. But this is the Miami Heat. A battle for Eastern Conference supremacy and a chance for the Knicks to take an impressive early 2-0 advantage in their season series against the defending champs. Of course, if the Knicks win, all is forgiven. And with the score tied at 53 at the half, it’s anyone’s game. Nobody questions Carmelo’s dedication and we move on.
But what say you, America? Would you have liked to see Melo play through the pain? Happy he sat? Somewhere in between? Don’t care?