Mike Woodson: I Should Have Let Carmelo Anthony Sit Because He Asked Out Before His Injury

There’s never a dull moment as Knicks head coach; Mike Woodson would agree with that. After surrendering a double-digit second half lead to the Miami Heat on Sunday, Woodson had another controversy brewing on Monday night in Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony fell and aggravated his right knee while the Knicks were trailing by 22 against the Cavaliers. There are many Anthony critics out there who believe the forward was bailing out of the game, but not so fast. Woodson claims Anthony asked out of Monday night’s game before he fell and that it’s his fault the injury occurred in the first place. Mike Woodson joined 98.7 ESPN New York with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco to discuss the injury status of Carmelo Anthony, Anthony not bailing out of the game against Cleveland, Carmelo asking out of the game against Cleveland before his injury and making a mistake in not playing Amar’e Stoudemire late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat.

What’s the status of Carmelo Anthony? What were your thoughts when he couldn’t return in the game against Cleveland?

“Well it’s alarming, but again, it’s probably day-to-day. We are here in Detroit now and we just want to evaluate him and let him rest a day and see how he feels tomorrow morning and we’ll go from there.”

Did Carmelo Anthony bail out of the game against Cleveland before falling and did he use that fall as an excuse to leave the game?

“I definitely don’t agree with that. Carmelo Anthony has been a driving force for what we have been about since I have been here as a head coach. … I wish you wouldn’t even think that way, that he walked off. … The game was out of hand, but 22 points in this league is nothing. I’ve seen teams come back from that deficit. Melo was hurting, and for him to ask me to come out of the game before he even took that spill made me realize that something wasn’t right. He’s never, ever, ever hinted about coming out of the game. I play him too much in that regard. Melo is a trooper. He’s a warrior. He’s a tough kid, so we read you when you say something like that.”

So if Carmelo Anthony asked you to take him out of the game, why didn’t you when he asked?

“I should have. But stubborn coach, I just didn’t. We’re down 22, I’m going to leave one of my best players in the game. Maybe I should have taken him out before he actually stumbled and took the fall. Again, I’m thinking the game. I’m thinking he’ll play through it, he’ll figure it out. But hey, he was hurting. He walked out after he took the spill and he didn’t come back. That’s not Melo-like. Obviously his knee was bothering him.”

Why wasn’t Amar’e Stoudemire in the game against the Miami Heat when it counted in the fourth quarter?

“Bad coaching. You can blame that on coach. The thing with Amar’e is I’m on a minute-restriction with him and I’m trying to get him minutes as I go along and that’s no excuse. He should have been in at the end of that game. Although they were small, the matchups coming back the other way would have been tough for us because Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire would have had to guard a perimeter player with it being in LeBron James’ or Dwyane Wade’s hands. That’s a tough matchup for any big, so I went with the matchup versus trying to make them match up to us and they probably would have never matched up to us and it would have been an advantage for us offensively going the other way, but I think of this advantage defensively to guard the shooters around LeBron and Chris Bosh being the only big guy on the floor I went with the defense, so hey, you live and learn. I learned because the games were so lopsided the first two games I didn’t have to deal with that and that’s something I did learn, and I thought last night we kind of — even though Melo went down — Stoudemire was in there when it counted in the end and he made a difference.”

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