New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says he will be a game-time decision for Wednesday night.
The Brooklyn Nets can only hope he will sit out based on how the Brooklyn-born Anthony has fared against them this season.
The Knicks (18-6) suffered their first home loss their last time out with Anthony on the sideline and look to bounce back when the Nets visit Madison Square Garden.
Anthony has missed the last two games with a sprained left ankle that he says is healing. He will try to get through some work in the morning before deciding whether he can play.
"It's not sprained or anything right now, it's just really badly bruised," Anthony said. "It's about getting the inflammation out, and there's still some inflammation in there."
While Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire practiced for the first time this season Tuesday and there is no timetable for his return, the club wants to make sure Anthony is ready even though there is temptation for him to play after averaging 40.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in two meetings this season with Brooklyn (13-11).
"Of course I want to play," Anthony said. "But if I'm not able to go out there and be the player that I can be and help my team then I'm not going to step foot out there on the court."
His absence would dampen an Atlantic Division rivalry that has heated up in 2012-13, with the Nets now city rivals as well. The first two games have been in Brooklyn, with the Nets winning 96-89 in overtime on Nov. 26 and the Knicks winning 100-97 on Dec. 11 on former Nets guard Jason Kidd's go-ahead 3-pointer with 24 seconds left.
These teams met for first place in November, but New York has opened a five-game division lead on Brooklyn now.
"You guys want to call it a rivalry, so be it," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "You know I look at it is two good teams this year that are battling it out to figure out who's going to stay at the top of this division and win it. I'm pulling for the Knicks."
Brooklyn does not believe it will have a huge advantage if Anthony is out.
"Well they beat the Heat in Miami without 'Melo so we know they are still a good team," Nets guard Deron Williams said. "They have guys that can come in and step up. If he doesn't play, we're going to treat it the same way as if he plays."
The Nets will try to regroup after their seventh loss in nine games, 92-90 at home to Utah on Tuesday. Brooklyn built a 13-point halftime lead before shooting 31.3 percent after the break.
Joe Johnson scored 21 points and Williams added 14.
Brook Lopez missed the last meeting with New York after he had 22 points and 11 boards in the first one. Lopez has started the last three games after missing seven with a sprained right foot.
This is the first time the Knicks will host a team from the state of New York since a 122-112 loss to the Buffalo Braves on Feb. 18, 1978. New York fell to 10-1 at home with Monday's 109-96 defeat to Houston.
The Associated Press News Service
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