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Should the Knicks shut Carmelo down?

BOSTON -- Unless he decides to take an extended rest or undergo surgery, it sounds like Carmelo Anthony will be playing at less than 100 percent for the rest of the season.

Anthony has had soreness in his left knee since the second game. His daily status basically depends on how his knee feels that day.

“I’ll get out every day, try to do some stuff, try to see how it feels, and then if it gets to a point where I just can’t do it then I’ll consider kind of sitting out maybe a week or two weeks or something like that,” Anthony said Friday morning. “But at this point it’s just a matter of taking it day by day and seeing what happens and seeing how I react after games.”

Anthony suited up Friday in Boston and scored 22 points in 39 minutes to help the Knicks win 101-95 and snap a 10-game losing streak.

His status for Sunday’s game against Toronto depends largely on how his knee feels Sunday afternoon.

“Some days it’s going to be [healthy enough to play] and some days it’s going to be tough,” Anthony said late Friday night.

The veteran forward’s lingering knee injury presents an interesting choice for the Knicks: Should they force the superstar to sit out? Should they ask that he have surgery? Or should they let him continue to play on a knee that is less than 100 percent healthy?

Anthony has said that he considers knee surgery a last resort. But given that he is in the first year of a five-year, $124 million contract -- and the Knicks are 5-20 -- maybe the prudent move would be for Anthony go under the knife.

"I'm not even looking forward to even discussing the surgery or anything like that," he said earlier this week. "I'll explore as many other options as I can before I go under the knife and get surgery. We really don't know exactly what's the problem."

One aspect the Knicks have to be wary of is Anthony’s workload. He is coming off of a season in which he averaged a league-high 38.7 minutes per

game.

Anthony, a 12-year veteran, already has amassed a significant number of minutes in his career.

Of the players selected in Anthony’s draft class, only LeBron James (34,074) has played more regular-season minutes than Anthony (29,626).

Coach Derek Fisher has said he’d like to play Anthony fewer minutes, and given the state of Anthony’s knee, he’d be wise to follow through with that plan.

So far, Anthony has averaged three fewer minutes per game this season than last. But he has played at least 39 minutes in six of his past nine games.

The Knicks’ upcoming schedule doesn’t help, with five games in eight days.

“Having to get after it through practice, then a game and practice, that’s the tough part,” Anthony said.

The Knicks' medical staff has told Anthony that his knee can’t get any worse if he plays -- but it also can’t improve. The injury affects Anthony’s impact on offense.

“I can pretty much do everything, it’s just what I don’t have -- the bounce, have my balance, have any power -- to kind of have that quick first step and to be able to go off one leg,” Anthony said. “The balance, the push-off, some days is very limited.”

The Knicks are 15 games under .500. Their $124 million man is limited. Is it time for the team to shut Carmelo Anthony down?