Woodson: J.R. experiencing knee soreness

NEW YORK -- Knicks' sixth man J.R. Smith is experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee, coach Mike Woodson said.

Woodson said he will keep an eye on Smith's minutes going forward. The shooting guard was averaging 31.5 minutes per game entering play Sunday.

"I know he's had some soreness," Woodson said before tipoff of Sunday's Knicks-Pelicans game. "I was told yesterday and this morning that his knee was somewhat sore. ... I was expecting him to play 35, 36, 37 minutes [per game] so I've just got to take it a day at a time with him and see where he is with his knee and try not to burn him if I don't have to."

The Knicks signed Smith to a three-year, $18 million contract over the summer. He had surgery to repair a patellar-tendon injury and meniscus tear in his left knee shortly after signing the contract. He also missed the first five games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy.

He has struggled mightily with his shot entering play Sunday. The 28-year-old is shooting just 33 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.

"We kind of expected that a little bit based on the fact that he didn’t go through training camp," Woodson said.

Smith acknowledged after Friday's loss to Denver that his knee has been bothering him.

"Somewhat, but it's all right. I'm still playing," Smith said. "It's taking time. I'm not one to make excuses, but I gotta play better. If it hurts that bad, I shouldn't be playing. But I'm out there giving it all I got while I got it."

Woody says Melo should be aggressive late: Woodson is aware that Carmelo Anthony has missed 14 of his last 15 potential game-winning shots. But he doesn't have any plans to take the ball out of his hands in those situations.

"You want the ball in your best player's hands," he said.

The coach did say that he would have liked to see Anthony take the ball to the basket on the Knicks' last possession against Denver on Friday.

Anthony dribbled down the game clock and took a fade-away, baseline jumper that was partially blocked by Randy Foye. The Knicks walked off the floor with their eighth straight loss.

"I thought he could have probably been a little bit more aggressive with the ball when he went into his move, maybe to the rim and tried to get fouled," Woodson said. "Because I wouldn’t think that they would foul at that particular time. But that’s the shot he chose to take and hey, we have to live with it and hope for the best next time."

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