Celtics play through injuries, Knicks’ Anthony hurts arm

By David A.

The All Star break is here and the New York Knicks have held on to their lead in the Atlantic division. At the break, the Knicks are 32-18, but have lost two straight and three of their last four.

The Knicks lead the Brooklyn Nets by 2 ½ games and the Boston Celtics by 5 games. Out of the top three teams in the division, the Celtics have played the best over the last 10 games winning 8, while New York has won 6 out of their last 10 and Brooklyn just 5.

The Celtics have encountered a number of problems this season with injuries, most notably losing Rajon Rondo their All Star point guard and NBA leader in assists. Rondo is still waiting to have surgery on his torn ACL, but will be lost until sometime next season.

This week it became known that Paul Pierce the veteran captain for the Celtics has been playing with a pinched nerve in his neck. Pierce is playing through the painful injury since three of the Celtics have been lost to season ending injuries. The Celtics lost Leandro Barbosa to an ACL tear and Jared Sullinger to back surgery.

Pierce said the nerve has bothered him for over two months although it has started to get better he said. Nevertheless, Pierce this season is averaging 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Since the injury to Rondo in late January, Pierce has recorded triple-doubles on two occasions and double-doubles three times. Pierce will use the All Star break to recuperate, as the team prepares to head out West for a road trip as soon as the break is over. He is hoping management will acquire some new players to help the team down the stretch.

More depth is needed by the Celtics as they have a very veteran team that includes both Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, both in their mid 30s.

Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks All Star forward, might have to sit out the game Sunday due to a severe contusion on his arm. Anthony injured himself in the Knick loss on Wednesday to Toronto when he was elbowed in his arm.

The Knick forward said he had numbness in his arm for most of the game. Anthony said he will go to the All Star game, but if he has any discomfort at all prior to the game, he will sit out since he does not want to risk injuring himself further.

League sources said the league had not been notified that Anthony would be withdrawing from the festivities.

Anthony was obviously struggling during the game, as his shot was off. For the game, Anthony hit just 5 of his 24 shots, ending the game with 12 points. It was only the third time all season he has not scored 20 or more points.

Knicks management will be watching the arm closely this weekend, as they cannot afford to have Anthony on the sideline as they head into the stretch run for the playoffs and try to catch the Miami Heat for the top spot in the conference.