Carmelo Anthony's status up in air in week leading into ASG

NEW YORK -- Knicks star Carmelo Anthony missed Friday night's 91-85 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies due to left knee soreness, but a recent MRI confirmed there is no structural damage.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher termed the soreness as "inflammation."

"There's no injury or new injury in terms of a traumatic or acute situation," the coach said before the game Friday. "... I think he'll be fine long term. We just have to get into these next set of days into the [All-Star] break and hopefully we can kind of re-evaluate him from there in terms of it not being something that's reoccurring."

It was the third game Anthony has missed in the past two weeks due to soreness in the knee. Anthony underwent season-ending surgery to repair a patella injury in his left knee last February. But both he and Fisher have said that the current soreness is unrelated to the surgery.

Fisher said the team hasn't considered sitting Anthony for the two games prior to the All-Star break to give him an extended rest. Anthony is scheduled to start for the Eastern Conference.

Fisher said it will be up to Anthony to determine whether he's healthy enough to play in the game. The Knicks will re-evaluate the 31-year-old veteran prior to Sunday's matchup against Denver.

"He's smart and he knows, like tonight, if he can't physically go out and play then he won't play," Fisher said. "If he can play, even if there's a little bit of soreness, and he still can help his team, then he's willing to do that."

Anthony said last week that he'd likely have to play through some discomfort in his knee for the remainder of the season.

He first felt soreness on Jan. 23. He said at the time that he was overcompensating for an ankle injury suffered Jan. 12 that was a result of a collision with an official. Anthony began to feel some discomfort again during Thursday night's loss to Toronto.

"He's carrying a big load. Coming off the ankle injury [he] kind of got thrown into a really intense week right after that and hasn't really been able to calm down completely since then," Fisher said.

Knicks forward Lance Thomas also missed Friday's game and will sit out of Sunday's game against Denver due to a concussion.

The earliest Thomas can return to the court is Tuesday against the Wizards.