Sources: Knicks' OG Anunoby to resume hoops activities in 3 weeks

ByAdrian Wojnarowski ESPN logo
Friday, February 9, 2024

New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby underwent surgery to remove a loose bone fragment in his right elbow Thursday, and sources told ESPN that he is expected to resume basketball activities in three weeks.

Anunoby's procedure was considered minor, and the belief is that he'll be fully healed to play for the Knicks' stretch run and playoffs, sources said. Anunoby has missed five straight games and will miss four more before the All-Star break that begins for the Knicks on Feb. 15.

"We tried to approach it with rest first, and then you trust the medical [staff], you trust him, and this was the best course of action," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before Dallas beat New York at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

"It seemed to make the most sense to all of us. So that's part of it ... You deal with it, and next guy get in there, get the job done."

The Knicks acquired Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 30 in a four-player trade and proceeded to win 12 of the next 14 games with him in the lineup. Anunoby has averaged 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds with the Knicks. His positive plus-minus rating in his first 14 games with the Knicks is the most since play-by-play was first tracked in 1996-1997, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

His plus-252 mark is also tied with teammate Jalen Brunson for the second-best plus-minus in the NBA since Jan. 1 -- trailing only the Cleveland Cavaliers' Donovan Mitchell, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Anunoby has shown himself to be perhaps the league's best defender since arriving to the Knicks, holding opponents to 36.7% shooting as the closest defender, best in the league among players who defended 150-plus shots.

Anunoby, 26, has made 39% of his 3-point shots since joining the Knicks, including 19 corner 3-pointers.

Both Anunoby's and Julius Randle's injuries played a factor in the Knicks' deadline deals to acquire Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons, sources said. Randle has been out with a right shoulder injury.

Not only did New York play Thursday's game without Anunoby and Randle, but they were also missing Mitchell Robinson, who has been out since December following ankle surgery, and Brunson, whom Thibodeau said is day-to-day with a sprained ankle he suffered in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Then, during Thursday's game, the Knicks -- already down to eight players -- lost another when center Isaiah Hartenstein was ruled out for the second half with a sore left Achilles. It's an issue that first cropped up for Hartenstein last month, though Thibodeau said after the game he hadn't spoken to the medical staff yet and didn't have an update.

Thibodeau said the hope was that Bogdanovic and Burks would be ready to play for Saturday's game at MSG against the Indiana Pacers, though that would be dependent on all players involved in the deal passing physicals. He also said he wasn't sure about the status of forward Taj Gibson, who is on the final day of his current 10-day contract with the franchise.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.

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