Insider Shares Major Update on Knicks’ Julius Randle, OG Anunoby

Knicks' Julius Randle and OG Anunoby

Getty OG Anunoby #8 talks with Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks during the second half against the Toronto Raptors.

New York Knicks‘ 3-and-D stud OG Anunoby is more likely to return this season than three-time All-Star forward Julius Randle, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“The hope is that the inflammation goes down at some point and he’s gonna be able to come back,” Charania said of Anunoby on “Run it Back” on FanDuel TV on April 1. “The hope is that it’s going to be when more of like which day exactly which game exactly. When is he going to wake up feeling better than if.”

Anunoby has missed the last seven games, including the Knicks’ 113-112 heartbreaking loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 31 at home, after a brief 3-game return more than one month since his February 8 surgery to remove a loose bone fragment in his right elbow.

The Knicks were 15-2 with Anunoby in the lineup and 12-13 without him, underscoring his value.  They are currently in the thick of a fight for the third seed in the Eastern Conference with only eight games left in their regular-season schedule.

“About Julius Randle, it’s a little bit more precarious,” Charania said. “I mean, this is someone that’s been out since January 27. We’re already into April, and he still has not done anything more than controlled contact with a dislocated shoulder.

And Josh Hart’s comments last night were very telling. He said we have to operate as if neither of those two is going to be back in the lineup. So for the Knicks, it’s really a wait-and-see approach. It seems OG Anunoby is more likely [to return] than Julius Randle at this point. But we’ll see.”

Josh Hart Will ‘Be Pleasantly Surprised’ if They Return

Hart, who had 13 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists against the Thunder, raised the alarm bells on the status of their two starters following their second straight loss.

“I’m looking at it like this is the team we’re going to have,” Hart told reporters, per SNY. “I think that’s how we have to approach it. That those guys aren’t coming back and we’ll be pleasantly surprised if they come back.

I’m not in those medical conversations or anything like that, so I don’t know [expletive] from [expletive]. But we’ve got to approach every game and the end of this season that those guys aren’t coming back, and if they do, be pleasantly surprised.”

The 6-foot-4 Hart has been doing heavy lifting since Randle went out on January 27 against the Miami Heat. He’s been putting up monster numbers — 11.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists while playing 40.8 minutes — in their last 28 games without Randle.

Knicks Fight for 3rd Seed

Back-to-back heartbreaking losses to the San Antonio Spurs and the Thunder dropped the Knicks to 44-30. They are half-game behind the third-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (45-30) and one game ahead of the fifth-seed Orlando Magic (43-31).

But the Knicks have the toughest remaining schedule left among the three teams.

According to Tankathon, the Knicks have the fifth-toughest remaining schedule with seven of their last eight games against playoff/play-in contenders. They only have the Brooklyn Nets as their easiest assignment.

The Magic’s remaining schedule is the 17th-toughest, per Tankathon, with two games against lottery-bound teams Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets.

The Cavaliers have the ninth softest schedule left, per Tankathon, with the Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies and the Utah Jazz as their easiest opponents over their last seven games.

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