Tom Thibodeau Shares Major Injury Update on Knicks’ Defensive Ace

Knicks' OG Anunoby battles for loose ball

Getty OG Anunoby #8 of the New York Knicks and Delon Wright #55 of the Washington Wizards go after the loose ball at Madison Square Garden.

New York Knicks‘ defensive ace OG Anunoby is nearing his return as Tom Thibodeau revealed he’s been cleared for non-contact on-court activities.

“He can shoot, dribble and pass. No contact [drills] yet but that’s the next step,” Thibodeau told reporters before the Knicks faced the visiting Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, February 29.

Thursday’s game against the Warriors will be the 13th game Anunoby has missed since his elbow flared up at Charlotte on January 29. The Knicks are 6-6 over their last 12 games without Anunoby. They were 12-2 with him in the lineup since they acquired him from Toronto on December 31 last year.

“Yeah, for sure [I’ll be back before the playoffs], hopefully,” Anunoby told reporters via SNY on February 20. “Just following the doctors’ orders, following the medical staff, just progressing day by day. I’m feeling better and better every day. So, yeah. I want to be back as soon as possible.

I’m definitely excited to get back. I think the whole team is excited to play together again and go on another run.”

Anunoby averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks in his first 14 games in his Knicks tenure. They had the league-best defensive rating 104.1 points per 100 possessions during that stretch.

Julius Randle Recognized for His Community Service

Knicks three-time All-Star forward Julius Randle has been named as the NBA Cares Bob Lanier Community Assist Award winner for the month of January, the league announced on Thursday.

Randle, who is recovering from a dislocated shoulder injury, has raised $38,000 for the Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School in New York City from this season alone. He pledged $500 for each three-pointer that he makes. He has already made 76 three-pointers before his unfortunate injury.

Now in its third season, the #30 for 3 campaign has raised more than $900,000 for the school.

For his efforts, Randle will receive the David Robinson trophy and the NBA will donate $10,000 to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Kids.

“We chose MSK Kids for the charity donation because we wanted to help in any way possible with children’s cancer research in the city,” Randle said.  “With two boys of our own, helping cure childhood diseases is a passion of ours and MSK does incredible research for childhood cancer and diseases.”

Randle will be recognized in-arena as the NBA Cares Bob Lanier Community Assist Award winner during the pre-game of the Feb. 29 Warriors-Knicks game.

Knicks Wanted to Trade Mitchell Robinson?

Former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony revealed some frustrations within the organization about their oft-injured starting center Mitchell Robinson amid the rise of his backup Isaiah Hartenstein.

“I know the Knicks are mad that they couldn’t trade him before the trade deadline,” Joe Budden said on the “7 PM in Brooklyn with Carmelo Anthony and Kid Mero” podcast on February 22.

“That’s a fact,” Anthony quickly added, confirming Budden’s intel on Robinson.

Robinson has been out since suffering a left ankle sprain on December 8 against the Boston Celtics, which later required surgery. But the Knicks have stayed afloat because of backup Isaiah Hartenstein’s growth into a starting-caliber center.

They are 23-15 since Robinson’s injury.

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