Carmelo says ‘it kills me’ to see Kobe Bryant’s injury woes

By on January 31, 2015

With Kobe Bryant (r.) out for the season, Sunday's Knicks-Lakers game could be a Super dud.Jeff Gross/Getty Images With Kobe Bryant (r.) out for the season, Sunday’s Knicks-Lakers game could be a Super dud.

The plan was for Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks to square off against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as a nationally televised lead-in to the Super Bowl.

You know what they say about best laid plans.

Carmelo and the Knicks are 9-37, Kobe is out for the season following shoulder surgery and ESPN dropped the 2 p.m. matinee in favor of showing Chris Paul’s celebrity bowling tournament on Sunday afternoon.

“The last three games we were supposed to be on national television, so they took us off. But they’ll want us back on there soon. They’ll want us back,” Anthony said after Thursday’s loss in Indiana. “It was a lot of games taken off of national television. Hey, like I said, they’ll be back at us again. They’ll be back.”

There again is a question whether the 36-year-old Bryant will be back in the NBA following the latest serious injury late in his career. The 17-time NBA All-Star, who surpassed Michael Jordan earlier this season for third on the all-time scoring list, has missed significant time in each of the past three seasons with a torn Achilles tendon, a knee injury and his latest torn rotator cuff.

“Yeah, man, it’s tough to see my brother go through that right now, especially this late in his career dealing with the big injuries that he’s had so far…It kills me to see him going through that right now, especially this late in his career,” Anthony said. “I know him, man, I know him, and this is not a way that he wants to go out.

“So I’m pretty sure he’s gonna do whatever he has to do to get back on that court one more time before he hangs them shoes up.”

Anthony, who played through partial shoulder tears in recent seasons, added that Sunday’s game doesn’t change for him just because Bryant will not be present.

Carmelo Anthony (r.) predicts Kobe Bryant will be back playing for Lakers next season.LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS Carmelo Anthony (r.) predicts Kobe Bryant will be back playing for Lakers next season.

“We’re trying to win, regardless if he’s there or not,” Anthony said. “It is Super Bowl Sunday, but we’re going there trying to win whether he’s there or not.”

This also will mark the first time the eight-time All-Star will face the Lakers since visiting with them on his free-agent tour last summer before re-signing with the Knicks on a five-year, $ 124 million deal.

“They came in at the 25th hour, they swooped in there, they had a great presentation,” Anthony said. “The conversation I had with Kobe was just man-to-man. We both had to come to reality and say ‘is this what we really want?’ It didn’t happen.”

EARLY DISMISSAL

Second-round pick Cleanthony Early has been assigned to the Knicks’ Westchester D-League team to play in games Friday and Saturday, both against Sioux Falls. The rookie out of Wichita State has played sparingly this season, averaging 4.5 points and 14 minutes in 14 appearances. He also missed nearly seven weeks following November knee surgery.

* * *

As expected, the Knicks officially signed Lou Amundson for the remainder of the season and will do the same with Lance Thomas when his second 10-day contract expires Saturday.

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