Knicks may have to face Westbrook, Durant without Melo

By on November 28, 2014

Carmelo Anthony could miss his second straight game for the Knicks with back spasms.Jordan Johnson/NBAE/Getty Images Carmelo Anthony could miss his second straight game for the Knicks with back spasms.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The teams sport matching 4-12 records, but their star-quotient injury situations suddenly are headed in opposite directions.

While Carmelo Anthony remains doubtful to play Friday after sitting out the Knicks’ overtime loss Wednesday in Dallas with back spasms, The Oklahoman reported that the injury-ravaged Thunder might get back “one or both” of their sidelined All-Stars — point guard Russell Westbrook and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant – “as early as Friday.”

Westbrook hasn’t played since he suffered a broken hand in the second game of the season on Oct. 30 but reportedly is expected to return to the lineup sooner than Durant, who also resumed practicing for OKC this week following surgery on Oct. 16 to repair a fracture in his foot.

“You never like to see guys on any team get injured. And then guys that you played with, you definitely don’t like to see them go through injuries that impact their season the way they have,” said Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who spent parts of the previous three seasons playing for the Thunder. “But they’re quality guys that are pretty resilient. Russell’s been through a lot obviously (with injuries) the last couple of years. But he’s going to keep coming back; he’s a fighter in that way.

“The fact that it happened early in the season, hopefully still allows them some time to get back and help their team, but it’s never good to see guys getting injured, especially guys that you have been to work with before.”

Fisher spent his Thanksgiving in the city where he finished his career, getting to one NBA Finals and another Western Conference finals with the Thunder after winning five championships earlier in his career with the Lakers.

“Probably not as emotional as going back to Los Angeles for the first time. But I think the people there, the city, the community, the team, the organization, it was a great time,” Fisher said. “A lot of people impacted my life in a positive way and in a short period of time they accepted me and they felt like I was impactful there.

Talk about bad timing for the Knicks, who could see Russell Westbrook (l.) and Kevin Durant return for the Thunder during Friday's game.Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE/Getty Images Talk about bad timing for the Knicks, who could see Russell Westbrook (l.) and Kevin Durant return for the Thunder during Friday’s game.

“For a guy that was basically old news in one city, they took me in and shined me up a little bit and I was a part of something special there for a couple of years. I’m thankful to have this opportunity to now be in this position as a coach going back there, a place that I’ll always appreciate and value in terms of my experiences there and most importantly the people. They’re a special brand of people in that city, and I appreciate everything that they’ve done.”

Fisher acknowledged earlier this month that he likely would have sought to continue his 18-year NBA playing career with the Thunder if his former Lakers coach and current Knicks president Phil Jackson had not offered him a five-year deal to transition directly into the coaching ranks.

“We talked about (playing another year),” Fisher said. “A lot of the media had kind of reported the possibility of Phil being interested. I told them that I hadn’t spoken to Phil directly and until I spoke to him to really get a feel for whether or not the offer really existed that I did have some interest in coming back.

“They were open to it, but there was definitely no pressure to come back. They respected that it was potentially a great opportunity for me to make a great transition in my career. They’ve been supportive from the beginning.”

Pablo Prigioni admitted his left hand “started to swell” following a collision Wednesday with Dallas’ Chandler Parsons, but he said “I think it is nothing to worry about.”

The Thunder waived Brooklyn product Sebastian Telfair on Wednesday night. 

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