Knicks injury updates: OG Anunoby projected to return before Julius Randle

OG Anunoby Knicks
New York Knicks’ OG Anunoby (8) drives past Portland Trail Blazers’ Jerami Grant (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, in New York. The Knicks won 112-84. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The New York Knicks are hanging around the very top of the Eastern Conference despite being without two of their top payers, Julius Randle and OG Anunoby. 

Both have been out since Jan. 27. Randle suffered a dislocated shoulder while Anunoby was sidelined due to what was originally described as elbow inflammation. It turned out to be loose bodies in his right elbow, which required surgery on Feb. 8.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, reported that OG Anunoby is trending toward a return before Randle as he’s “right on schedule.” He could be reevaluated by the end of this week and if all goes well, could return to on-court activities shortly after that.

The situation around Randle still seems murky as surgery is still very much on the table. He was in a similar situation last year when he suffered an ankle injury down the stretch before the playoffs that needed to be surgically repaired, but he opted to play through it before undergoing a procedure in the offseason. 

By that track record, if the shoulder is manageable, he will likely try to play through it and then correct the issue over the summer.

Julius Randle injury update Knicks
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Anunoby sparked a defensive renaissance upon his acquisition from the Toronto Raptors in late December while creating a lethal trio alongside Randle and Jalen Brunson.

While Brunson continues to perform at an MVP-worthy clip, Randle had been as strong as ever during a torrid Knicks stretch in which they went 12-2 in their previous 14 games before the injuries struck. Randle is averaging 24 points, 9.2 rebounds, and five assists per game this season. 

Brunson managed to single-handedly keep the Knicks afloat for the tail-end of an NBA-best run that saw them go 16-3 over a 19-game stretch while moving to within a half-game of the No. 2 seed of the Eastern Conference. But New York has fallen back down to Earth since, losing six of their last eight games entering Monday night’s clash with the Detroit Pistons and dropping two games in the standings behind the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers. 

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