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Knicks Injury Report: Julius Randle and OG Anunoby’s Update Raises Coach Thibs’ Optimism

Published 02/20/2024, 8:55 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The New York Knicks are carrying a spark of hope into the season’s second half; a rare feeling for the franchise in recent years. After years of being labeled as mid, they finally boast a team capable of making a significant playoff run. However, injuries to key players like Julius Randle and OG Anunoby have derailed their momentum, but all’s not lost for the 4th team in the Eastern Conference.

After the Knicks’ injury report was released before their next battle with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, Ian Begley, a reporter covering the Knicks tweeted about Coach Tom Thibodeau’s optimism with the statement, “I haven’t heard anything other than he’s been making good, steady progress.

Further in the conference addressing reporters, Coach Thibs said about Randle, “He’s doing well overall, but he just hasn’t been cleared to practice yet. He’s meeting all the markers and is moving around pretty good, so just take it day by day.”

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This comes after three weeks of uncertainty following Randle’s dislocated shoulder injury. While surgery was initially feared, a successful recovery without it seems plausible. Similarly, when the Knicks’ forward OG Anunoby was asked about his optimism about returning after his elbow surgery, he replied, “Yeah, yeah. For sure. Hopefully, just following the doctor’s orders… just progressing day by day, but I’m feeling better and better.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that on February 8th, Anunoby had undergone surgery to remove a loose bone fragment from his right elbow, which was expected to keep him out for three weeks.

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A cloud of injuries looming over the Knicks

What initially looked like a season-ending injury was diagnosed as a dislocated shoulder for Randle, with the belief that the star forward could avoid surgery and return before the end of 2023-24. As of February 20th, Randle hasn’t been cleared to practice yet, but the optimism within the organization is a good sign that he soon could be.

In the 2023-24 season, All-Star Julius Randle played 46 games and has been averaging 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. He sustained the injury during the final stages of the Knicks vs. Miami game held on January 27th. The Knicks have struggled in his absence, going 3-5 with a notable loss to Orlando.

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Coming to Anunoby, his impact was immediate, with the Knicks winning 12 of 14 games with him in the lineup. He averaged 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds, boasting the best plus-minus rating of any player since 1996-97.

via Imago

With 27 games remaining, including a match-up against the Philadelphia 76ers (32-22) after the All-Star break, getting Randle and Anunoby back into the mix before the playoffs is crucial for the New York Knicks who are currently ranked 4th in the Eastern Conference right above Philly.

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Both players and Coach Thibs have expressed optimism about their return, leaving Knicks fans eagerly awaiting their potential banging return. Stay tuned to find out more!

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Written by:

Aakritee Raajj

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A lawyer turned NBA Writer at EssentiallySports, Aakritee Raajj found herself in the right realm as soon as she dropped her black coat to don the Mavericks’ jersey in the NBA department. That’s how the content strategy desk trusts her with any coverage demanding a legal knowhow. She became a fan of the league in the late 2000’s after Dirk Nowitzki upset the Miami Heat in Game 6 during 2011 NBA Finals.
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Edited by:

Sameen Nawathe