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Carmelo Anthony says he took a ‘huge risk’ by not having offseason surgery to repair injured shoulder

Oct 13, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony AP

Carmelo Anthony played through a partially-torn labrum in his left shoulder for the entire second round of the Knicks’ playoff series against the Pacers.

The injury appeared to occur in Game 5 during the first round against the Celtics.

Anthony was affected by it off and on, but was able to increase his scoring output in each of his final three games. But all it takes is to get hit the wrong way once with an injury like this, and he could be out for an extended period of time.

That’s part of why it was so tough for Anthony to decide whether or not to have offseason surgery — get it repaired, and he’d miss time in the regular season. Allow it to try to heal on its own, and he could potentially be forced to be out even longer if it continued to be a lingering issue.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Carmelo Anthony said he took a “huge risk’’ this offseason in opting not to have left-shoulder surgery and claimed he also had a torn rotator cuff to go along with a partially torn labrum.

“I’m ecstatic going from a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum to not needing surgery,’’ Anthony said. “Let me take that back. Taking a risk in not taking surgery and letting it heal on its down. I took a huge risk in doing that. It meant I had to put more time in the offseason to do what I had to do to get it right.’’

“Everybody has their opinion and brought it to the table, everybody had their pros and cons,’’ Anthony said. “It was the last resort. Doctors sat down [explaining] what will happen if I got surgery. I wouldn’t have been able to start the season. I would’ve been out four, five months because of the severity of the tear.’’

Despite the Knicks finishing second in the Eastern Conference last year, most predict a finish of no higher than fourth this season, given the improvements made by the Pacers and the Bulls. Anthony led the league in scoring last season, and his team will need a similar level of production if they’re going to be able to keep pace.

The Knicks have a very small window here with Anthony in his prime, so saying he took a “huge risk” by opting for rehabilitation instead of surgery is in no way an overstatement of the issue. And the early returns are extremely positive — Anthony finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in just 25 minutes of action in his most recent preseason outing.

  1. mackcarrington - Oct 13, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    He’s taking a risk alright. He’s going to wish he had the surgery.
    Didn’t Mark Sanchez of the Jets think the same thing? He was going to let it heal on it’s own
    and then just recently decided that he needed surgery. I know Carmelo isn’t a quarterback,
    but doesn’t he spend a lot of time with his arms raised above his shoulder. He’s going to be in a lot more pain than he will let on.

  2. sportsfan18 - Oct 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    The author is correct in that Melo led the league last yr in scoring.

    However, he ONLY led the league in scoring because he took so many shots per game.

    He averaged 22.2 shots per game last yr. He had to take so many shots to score that much because he only shot .449% from the field.

    Until last season, the three time defending scoring champ Kevin Durant led the league in scoring.

    Durant finished 2nd in scoring last season. He finished 2nd because he only took 17.69 shots a game.

    Durant shot .510% from the field last season.

    Durant is so much more efficient than Melo and he is still improving. Two seasons ago when Durant last led the league in scoring, he averaged 19.7 shots a game and averaged 28.0 points a game.

    Last season, Durant only took 17.7 shots a game but average 28.1 points a game.

    Here’s one last way to look at Melo. Compared to last season when he took 22.2 shots to average 28.7 points a game, 2 seasons ago Melo average 18.6 shots per game (still higher than Durant’s 17.7 last season) and he ONLY averaged 22.2 points per game.

    So yes, Melo led the league in scoring but he took basically a quarter of his teams shot attempts all yr in order to do it.

    • lenbias34pt - Oct 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Thank you.
      This is a well thought out, well researched response.

      The response is actually more informative than the article.

      Even the Mello fans can’t dispute the facts used……thou it’s cute that some gave it a thumbs down.

      • cruzan80 - Oct 13, 2013 at 7:28 PM

        What’s also cute is how y’all conveniently leave out the FACT that Durant plays with a guy named Russell Westbrook who takes more shots than he does (18.2). name a player on the Knicks who takes & makes as many shots as Westbrook does not named Carmelo Anthony……I’ll wait…..exactly. Want some more facts??? Guess what Durrant’s FGA were in the playoffs (when Westbrook was out) …..22.4. So, Durant took just as many shots per game as Melo does once he was placed in the same position Melo played in all year…..wow……ain’t that a shocker.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 13, 2013 at 7:32 PM

        cruzan….. is this some sort of flimsy defense for why Carmelo is far less efficient than Durant? I’m not sure what your point is.

      • cruzan80 - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        Its not a matter of “defending” Melo. I’m just pointing out the facts that Melo haters love to ignore. He shoots a lot…..yes….like all great scorers do…until they have another player of their caliber or near it on the same team. We’ve seen this before yet we still act like it’s something new. NO player….NONE…has ever won or gotten deep into the playoffs without another star….that’s a fact. Like I pointed out in a previous post. Durant, who is a very efficient shooter….benefits from his all-star teammate who is also a prolific scorer. With a Westbrook on the floor, do you really you think defenses play Durant the same way they play Melo with who……Felton??? C’mon man!
        Kenny Smith use to say this all the time. “Kobe Bryant is the only all-star SG who gets to play one on one.” You know why….two words…Shaquille O’Neal. These guys get to put the pressure on other defenses because of the TEAMS their on. Its pick your poison. The Knicks do not have that luxury & neither did the Nuggets for that matter except for Billup’s 1st full season on the team (in which they made it to the WCF).I mean, let’s just be fair about it man. How many chips did LBJ win before joining Wade & Bosh? How many playoff games did KG win before he joined Pierce & Allen??? How many chips did Kobe win without Shaq or Pau? How far did Durant take the Thunder just last season without Russell Westbrook on the court with him? Melo will & should keep shooting until Amare can actually play more than 50 games in a season or until the Knicks get him another star to play alongside him Otherwise, he’ll probably do exactly what LBJ did & find help himself elsewhere or do what Kobe did & jump on Stephen A. Smith’s radio show demanding a trade. Then…..all the “experts” will say….. “He’s grown”…lol.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:49 PM

        except years of data pretty much proves that players shoot about the same nomatter who their teammates are. Melo isn’t very good and that’s because he shoots a bunch but doesn’t make that many, doesn’t pass, turns it over a fair amount, and plays no defense. His best attribute might be his mediocre rebounding.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Oct 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      I’ll agree with everything you’re saying about efficiency but there’s a simpler way to express it. True shooting % accounts for every possession used by a player, including turnovers, 3 point shots and free throws. The last two seasons these players have shot:

      Durant: 61%, 64.7%
      Anthony: 52.5%, 56%
      Lebron: 60.5%, 64%
      Harden: 66%, 60%
      Westbrook: 53.8%, 53.2%

      So Harden may not shoot a high percentage overall but because he shoots 3′s and free throws so well he is actually a very efficient scorer. Westbrook and Anthony are not. Durant & James finished 2nd and 3rd last season in true shooting % and were the only two volume scorers in the top ten.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        TS% doesn’t have anything to do with turnovers. Might want to check that.

      • casualcommenter - Oct 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM

        Nice post, but as adamsjohn714 says, true shooting numbers don’t include turnovers.

        “Points per possession finished by a player” stats factor in possessions in which a player either takes a shot or turns over the ball, but true shooting only includes possessions in which the player takes a shot.

        If a player turns over the ball (meaning he didn’t take a shot), their true-shooting percentage is unaffected.

        But otherwise, you’re right about the efficiencies demonstrated by true-shooting.

      • lenbias34pt - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        I thought it was adorable, Cruz. You just keep supporting Mello.

        I actually ‘knew’ Mello when he was at Towson Catholic. So I’ll admit i have a bit of an ugly bias toward the underachiever…….and know why he is, and always will be, an underachiever.

        Still that said, i would argue other than James know one has been born with more natural talent than Mello.

        Enjoy the continued Playoff successes with Mello, Cruz

      • ProBasketballPundit - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        Yeah I guess you guys are right about TS%… so now where do I find point per possession for players? Kirk Goldsberry just came up with a pretty cool new stat called ShotScore. I recommend his article to any stat geeks; it can be found on Grantland.com.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        PBP…. Check out this reply to ShotScore that addresses some of the issues with it.

        http://www.sbnation.com/2013/10/10/4822810/lebron-james-kevin-durant-nba-scoring-metrics-hook

      • ProBasketballPundit - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Thanks, adamsjohn714. That’s an interesting rebuttal… although I still like Goldsberry’s new stat. That is, if he feels like putting all that work into a stat every year. To be honest the stat I love the most is PPP or points per possession. That should be the ultimate measure of scoring efficiency for a team or player. You ALWAYS have to factor in how many possessions are used though. LeBron has to use a lot of the Heat’s possessions so I would understand that he’s not as efficient as Jose Calderon or Steve Nash.

    • jcshin89 - Oct 13, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      well with melo who is he supposed to depend on when it comes to offense? knicks 2nd best offense was half crippled amare.

    • luisbodega - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      I thought this was a article about his shoulder healing? Why are you talking about shooting efficiency?

  3. adamsjohn714 - Oct 13, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Maybe if he had the surgery instead of playing in the second round the Knicks would’ve had a chance. He had an awful playoffs.

  4. antistratfordian - Oct 13, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    “Anthony led the league in scoring last season…”

    Last season was strange in this regard… Anthony had the highest scoring average, Durant scored the most points, LeBron made the most field goals. When is the last time three different players led in those categories?

    • im2gr84u2h8on - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:53 AM

      When your Mom did it with your Father and Uncle.

  5. jimeejohnson - Oct 13, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Anthony is at his devastating best when he gets it going from the outside. The long NBA season will be the true test for that shoulder. Anthony has got to shoot a higher percentage for the Knicks to surpass last season’s second round exit. I think he can.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 15, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      Ten years of evidence says he can’t.

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