Carmelo Anthony said during his exit interview with the team that he’ll be getting his injured shoulder checked out now that the season is over. Anthony wore a protective sleeve on his left shoulder during the postseason after he got it beaten on during the New York Knicks’ April 14 win over the Indiana Pacers. Though no specific injury was found, several times over the remainder of the season, Anthony drew contact on that shoulder and came up grimacing.
During that April 14 game when he sustained the injury, Anthony shot 9-23. It was his final game of the regular season. However, the time off until the postseason didn’t appear to heal the shoulder. Although it was his left shoulder (he shoots righty), all parts of the body are equally important in terms of shooting form, especially for a scorer like Anthony. Any pain in his gathering of the ball or rising up for the shot, could cause Anthony to make adjustments in his form, therefore changing his overall shooting motion.
The pain was pretty obvious, too. In the postseason, Anthony’s shooting percentage fell by almost five whole points to 40.6% FG. Against the physical defense of both the Boston Celtics and Pacers, Anthony struggled when dealing with contact. For instance, when shooting less than five feet from the rim, Anthony shot just 40.3% and had his shot blocked 14 times in the playoffs from that distances. Whereas Anthony is usually physical around the basket and protects the ball and his shot with his body, the injury to his shoulder seemed to lessen his ability to go up strong near the basket.
The obvious worry — although ‘Melo seemed calm about it in his interview — is he’ll need surgery. He’ll have an MRI done soon to see if there’s any internal damage. A long layoff and recovery will effect his training this offseason and could get him off to a slow start to the next season. It’s a situation worth monitoring, although, luckily, Anthony doesn’t have any Team USA obligations this offseason, so he’ll have more time to let it heal.