But so far, he's "ecstatic" with the results.
Anthony admitted Saturday night that he played with a torn rotator cuff and partially torn labrum in his left shoulder late last season.
The injury hampered him in the final games of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Instead of going under the knife to fix his shoulder, Anthony opted in the offseason to try and fix the injury through an intensive rehab.
He's satisfied with current outcome.
"I'm ecstatic going from a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum to not needing surgery," Anthony told reporters in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday. "Let me take that back: taking a risk in not taking surgery and letting it heal on its own. I took a huge risk in doing that. It meant I had to put more time in the offseason to do what I had to do to get it right."
If he'd opted to have surgery, doctors told Anthony he would have missed the beginning of the season.
"I would have been out four, five months because of the severity of the tear," he said.
There's an inherent risk, of course, in deciding against surgery. Anthony's shoulder, presumably, is more susceptible to damage if he gets hit repeatedly this season. If he opted for surgery, his shoulder would have been 100 percent healthy when he hit the floor.
Anthony originally suffered the injury against the Indiana Pacers on April 14 in a collision near the basket. The injury was exacerbated in the Knicks' first-round series against Boston when Kevin Garnett yanked on his shoulder.
"I was a little naïve," Anthony said. "I kind of felt it was torn or something like that when it first happened. Once it happened, I knew something was wrong with it."
Anthony played through considerable discomfort in the postseason, and his shooting seemed to be affected.
He shot 40.9 percent from the floor in 12 postseason games after shooting 45 percent during the regular season.
"It was all types of stuff going on in there," Anthony said. "It was messed up."
Anthony never complained about the injury, nor did he use it as an excuse during the postseason -- though he admitted after the series was over that the injury affected him on the floor.
Early in the offseason, Anthony huddled with the Knicks medical staff to determine the next course of action.
"Everybody has their opinion and brought it to the table, everybody had their pros and cons," Anthony said. "[Surgery] was the last resort."
The Knicks may take precaution with Anthony this season. Coach Mike Woodson seems to be leaning toward playing Anthony more at small forward. This move could limit the contact Anthony endures because he would guard the opposing small forward rather than banging with the power forward.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.