OG Anunoby makes return to lineup again in major Knicks boost

CHICAGO — OG Anunoby is making his second return. 

The defensive stalwart, who missed nine straight games because his surgically repaired elbow “flared up,” was back in the starting lineup for Friday night’s game against the Bulls. 

Anunoby’s latest absences came with a diagnosis of either elbow inflammation or elbow tendinopathy, which followed arthroscopic surgery in February to remove a loose bone.

His presence has translated to great success for the Knicks, who entered Saturday with a 15-2 record when he’s available.


OG Anunoby will make his Knicks return Friday night.
OG Anunoby will make his Knicks return Friday night. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

However, Anunoby sat the majority of games since being acquired from the Raptors on Dec. 30.

The Knicks entered Friday fifth in the East because they lost the tiebreaker to Orlando.

The Bulls, who New York faces three times in April, are jockeying for a play-in spot. 

Anunoby’s return is a much-needed boost to a lineup that has stayed afloat despite major injuries — including a season-ender to Julius Randle — but has relied on consistent 40-plus minute nights from Josh Hart and Miles McBride. 

Tom Thibodeau was happy to get his most versatile defender back. 

“Length, wing defender, versatility offensively, ability to shoot the ball, move without the ball,” Thibodeau said. “He can guard multiple positions. He can play multiple positions offensively. Does a little bit of everything and does it all well.”


Knicks forward OG Anunoby
Knicks forward OG Anunoby has been a critical part of the team. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Anunoby’s recovery has been a rollercoaster. He was originally labeled “day-to-day” with “elbow inflammation” in late January as Thibodeau downplayed the injury.

Then the designation changed to “bone spur irritation” after about a week.

A day later, the Knicks announced that Anunoby underwent elbow surgery. 

When he returned, Anunoby clearly re-aggravated the elbow but Thibodeau said it was just soreness and expected.

Anunoby played one more time before his two-week absence. 

“You can play him on everybody, from point guards to centers,” Thibodeau said. 

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