The Knicks also lost Raymond Felton late in the fourth quarter with a groin injury. The point guard hadn't played since Dec. 11 because of a sore left hamstring, which he injured during training camp and has been hampering him all season.
"We can't catch a break, man," Felton said after the game, slumped at his locker. "Just can't catch a break."
The Knicks next play Oklahoma City at home on Wednesday, and neither player appeared as though he would be ready to play, although both expressed hope.
"Hey, I'm walking," Anthony said with a wan smile after limping through the locker room.
Anthony added that he believes he stopped his ankle "from rolling all the way, but I still rolled it pretty bad." Although Anthony said it was no comparison to when he sprained his ankle last season and missed a couple of games, he was moving gingerly.
At the time of Anthony's exit, the Knicks were leading 72-52. Then the Magic mounted a furious comeback, coming to within a point, but the Knicks staved them off for the win. Anthony finished with 19 points, which was still a team high, to go with three rebounds and two assists in just under 25 minutes of play.
"After Melo went down, I don't know if we hung our heads or what, but they made a hell of a run," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We just kept fighting and grinding and withstood the run and really made some defensive stops down the stretch to help us secure the game."
Felton didn't leave until late in the fourth quarter, with just about three minutes remaining, when he said he felt his groin pop. He then hobbled off the court.
"It's very disappointing," he said. "I'll get it evaluated by the docs in the morning. I'm hoping for the best."
Encouraging for Felton, though, is that his left hamstring felt fine, while his right groin is hurt. "It's not even the same leg, so I guess that's good," he said.
Anthony is obviously the bigger concern.
"Everything we do is connected to him," Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani said. "When he leaves, it changes everything."
That was apparent against the Magic. Without Anthony in the lineup, the Knicks fell apart in the third quarter, with the Magic outscoring them 35-19. But because of the 65-41 lead the Knicks had at halftime, they took an 84-76 lead into the final quarter before holding on for the victory.
Anthony got ice and compression treatments after he came out of the game.
"We're being cautious," Woodson said. "We'll evaluate it tomorrow and see where he is. Melo is a tough kid. He doesn't sit down very often. We've just got to wait and see how it feels tomorrow, see where he is, and we'll go from there."
Before the game, Woodson bemoaned the team's injuries and its resulting inability to find a rhythm and chemistry.
Metta World Peace missed another game Monday with a sprained left knee. The forward said before the game that he will have platelet-rich plasma therapy -- also known as blood-spinning treatment -- on Jan. 6, but he might be able to play before then.
Meanwhile, Anthony insists that he'll play against the Thunder.
"I don't want to miss that game," he said. "It's Christmas Day at the Garden. I'll be there. Hopefully I'll be there."