Insider Shares Encouraging Update on Knicks’ Injured Starters

Knicks forwards 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 at Madison Square Garden.

There is no clear timetable for New York Knicks starters Julius Randle and OG Anunoby‘s return but SNY’s Ian Begley provided an encouraging update.

“The approach to Anunoby’s current ailment will be a conservative one, per people briefed on the matter. The team will not rush Anunoby back, but it’s worth noting that the irritation in his elbow has shown improvement since Monday, people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday,” Begley wrote on Tuesday, March 19.

Anunoby flew back to New York to have his surgically repaired elbow re-checked after he experienced inflammation in the Knicks’ ongoing West Coast trip.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau shared with reporters before they beat the Warriors on Monday that Anunoby’s MRI came back clean.

“We want to make sure that he’s completely healthy,” Thibodeau told reporters, per The Athletic. “We knew this was a possibility when you bring a guy back from surgery. If there’s discomfort and stuff and he can’t function the way that we feel he needs to function on the court we’re just going to give him the time that he needs to let it calm down and we’ll go from there.”

On the other hand, Randle has yet to progress to full-contact drills but there is optimism that he would return for the Knicks playoff push.

“Three people I spoke to who are familiar with the situation expressed confidence that Randle would ultimately return to the court. He has been sidelined since late January with a shoulder ailment,” Begley wrote.

Randle hasn’t played since dislocating his right shoulder on January 27 against the Miami Heat.

OG Anunoby Poised to Become Knicks’ Highest-Paid Player

Despite Anunoby’s injury, he proved to be a difference-maker for the Knicks when he’s healthy. They are 15-2 record with Anunoby in the lineup and 9-10 without him.

That alone could make Anunoby the Knicks’ highest-paid player next season.

“He will try to break the bank there,” an Eastern Conference GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney. “Why not? They can’t afford to lose him. Not a max deal or anything, but I think from his side, it is going to look more like $40 million per year, something like four years and $160 million.”

Pending Anunoby’s new deal, Randle will be the Knicks’ highest-paid player next season with $27.5 million followed by Brunson’s $24.9 million, per Spotrac.

The Knicks cannot afford to lose Anunoby in free agency after they gave up last season’s 6th Man of the Year runner-up Immanuel Quickley and former no. 3 pick RJ Barrett and second-round pick for Anunoby.

Mitchell Robinson Set to Return

The Knicks should be getting back starting center Mitchell Robinson before the end of the month, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

“[The Knicks] have a very impressive victory [Monday] night,” Windhorst said on the “NBA Today” on March 19 on ESPN. “They continue to be rough and tough. Mitchell Robinson should be back before [by] the end of the month. We’re still waiting on Julius Randle but they’re only going to get better as long as they can get healthy and look where they are. They’re in fourth with a shot at the second seat.”

Robinson has been out since December 8 last year after suffering an ankle injury.

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