Insider Shares Concerning Update on Knicks’ Key Starter

Knicks' OG Anunoby

Getty OG Anunoby #8 of the New York Knicks dunks at Madison Square Garden

The New York Knicks continued to roll in their four-game West Coast trip with a wire-to-wire 119-112 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday, March 18.

But the victory was marred by the concerning update on key starter OG Anunoby, who skipped the game as he flew back to New York to get his surgically repaired elbow checked up.

“I’m told that OG Anunoby is going to be out more than just [Monday night] that that right elbow has flared up again,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on the “NBA Countdown” before the Knicks beat the Warriors. “They need it to calm down. How long he is out is unclear but it’s certainly a concern for this Knicks team that does not know the status of Julius Randle moving forward and right now, they will miss OG Anunoby more than just this game.”

While Anunoby will miss multiple games, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau shared with reporters before the game that his MRI result came clean. However, it showed inflammation in the area where the loose bone fragment was removed.

“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.”

The Elbow Inflammation

Anunoby looked solid in his first game back from an 18-game absence when he scored 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting in a massive 106-79 Knicks win over the Philadelphia 76ers on March 12. He was in rhythm, drilling catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, spinning to the basket and dunking the ball without discomfort. He was disruptive on defense like his old self.

Then came the inflammation.

In his second game, Anunoby winced in pain and clutched his right elbow after swiping the ball off Portland’s center Deandre Ayton in the first half of their 105-93 win against the Trail Blazers on March 14.

Anunoby returned in the second half and still wound up playing 36 minutes, scattering 12 points on 5 of 11 shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 steals and 2 assists.

The ill effects of the inflammation became more glaring in his third game back, shooting just 1 of 8 from the field in their 98-91 victory against the Sacramento Kings on March 16 in 33 minutes. But he was active defensively, swatting away 3 shots with 1 steal. He also had 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Anunoby did not join the team at Golden State and instead flew back to New York. He will not join the Knicks at Denver on Thursday, March 21. He will just wait for them in New York where the Knicks will host the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, March 23.

Did OG Anunoby Return Too Soon?

While the most important question is when will Anunoby return, the next one is did he return too soon?

“You can’t work backwards,” Thibodeau told reporters, per The Athletic. “There are many steps he had to go through. He met all the markers. He was cleared. This is a possibility. Whenever you come back from surgery, this is what you’re looking at. And so, we feel good about where he is. And just give him the time he needs.”

So the waiting game begins anew with less than one month left in the regular season.


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