If Melo has surgery, what's the timetable?

The Knicks hope the tear in Carmelo Anthony's shoulder can heal on its own.

If not, Anthony might need to undergo surgery. And that surgery could sideline Anthony for the start of the regular season, according to one veteran orthopedic surgeon.

The current plan in place, according to a league source, is to have Anthony rest for the next few weeks and see if the injury improves. So if surgery is necessary, it likely would not take place until late June.

Dr. Neil Roth, a veteran orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder and knee care, estimated that Anthony might need up to four months to recover from surgery to repair his shoulder.

In that case, the procedure could sideline Anthony through late October. He'd likely need several days -- weeks? -- of practice before he could play in a game.

"It depends on the exact diagnosis, but it's possible that the rehab could take four months," said Roth, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and the tending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital. "But I would still expect him to see significant improvements in his shoulder in the early portion of the season as he continues to strengthen it."

Roth, it should be noted, has not treated Anthony directly. In no way is he second-guessing the Knicks' medical staff of Dr. Lisa Callahan and Dr. Ainsworth Allen. He is simply providing his professional opinion.

Anthony first suffered the shoulder injury April 14 against the Indiana Pacers and said his shoulder "popped in and out" after the Celtics' Kevin Garnett tugged on it during the teams' first-round series.

Roth believes Anthony may have suffered a shoulder subluxation. A subluxation is a partial dislocation -- a temporary stretching or tearing of shoulder muscles, ligaments and tendons that can cause instability in the shoulder.

"It was likely very painful to him," Roth said. "The area was probably very sensitive and inflamed and that's why he was grabbing at it when he was hit."

Roth says there is a chance that Anthony's injury can heal with rest. But, depending on the severity of the tear, surgery might be the preferred avenue of care.

"There are many different types of labrum tears that vary characteristically by symptom, severity and treatment," Roth said. "Recurring subluxations can sometimes get better with rehab, but in a contact athlete like Carmelo I would treat it aggressively and fix it if it's the type of tear that's amenable to repair."

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