Melo a game-time decision for Nets game

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony says he will be a game-time decision for the Nets-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Anthony has missed the past two games because of lingering discomfort in his sprained left ankle. The Knicks star is taking a cautious approach with his ankle and made it sound as though he's leaning toward sitting out against the Nets.

"Of course I want to play," he said Tuesday. "But if I'm not able to go out there and be the player I can be and help my team, then I'm not going to step foot on the court."

Anthony ran lightly on Tuesday and said afterward that his ankle is still sore and "badly bruised." He added that he will not return to the floor until he is 100 percent healthy.

"I'm not going to sit here and rush him," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "Again, this is a long season, and one or two games is not going to make our season right now. So when he's ready to come back, he'll let me know, and we'll welcome him back."

Anthony planned to rehab at the team's training facility later Tuesday and on Wednesday.

He originally suffered the ankle injury on Thursday against the Lakers in a third-quarter collision with Dwight Howard.

"I never took a fall like that," said Anthony, whose hip, back, knee and ankle were all affected by the way he fell. "I think I got lucky, especially after looking at the fall."

The Knicks star has missed four games for the Knicks this season. The team is 2-2 in his absence.

With Anthony sidelined thanks to a laceration in his left middle finger, the Knicks beat the Heat on the road by 20 and lost to the Bulls. In Anthony's most recent absence, the Knicks beat the Cavs on Saturday but lost to Jeremy Lin and the Rockets on Monday.

Anthony doesn't want to rush back from his ankle injury. His preference is to be healthy for the rest of the season.

"I've played with injuries. Right now it's about being smart," he said. "If it was late in the season, I probably would be singing a different tune. Right now it's still early in the season."

In other injury news, Amar'e Stoudemire returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since his Nov. 1 surgery to repair a ruptured cyst in his left knee. Afterward, he said he is open to playing any roles Knicks coaches ask of him when he returns, including coming off the bench.

Stoudemire practiced with the Knicks' D-League team, the Erie BayHawks, because Woodson did not want the Knicks to hold a full practice on Tuesday due to the team's condensed schedule.

James White and Chris Copeland have been assigned to the D-League to give the BayHawks enough bodies to hold a scrimmage. They are expected to be called back up to the Knicks on Wednesday.