Home News Knicks injury updates: Jalen Brunson looks good in practice, OG Anunoby’s return...

Knicks injury updates: Jalen Brunson looks good in practice, OG Anunoby’s return is imminent

OG Anunoby is nearing a return, Mitchell Robinson has progressed to running and jumping, Julius Randle is taking light contact and Jalen Brunson should return soon, though his status for Friday’s matchup against the Orlando Magic has yet to be determined.

A depleted Knicks team saw all four of its missing starters participate to varying degrees during practice at the Tarrytown training facility on Thursday.

The head of the snake, Brunson, who suffered a knee bruise in Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, took part in “most of practice,” head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters.

The All-Star guard’s status for Friday’s matchup against the Magic hinges on how he feels ahead of tipoff. And after he suffered the injury on the very first possession of the Knicks’ victory in Cleveland and needed assistance off the court into the locker room, Thibodeau is unsure whether or not Brunson will be listed as questionable, probable or out altogether.

Without Brunson, the Knicks lost by 16 to the Atlanta Hawks, who were without All-Star guard Trae Young.

“He looked regular, looked good. Practice is a lot of starting and stopping so it’s kind of hard to judge [if a player has overcome an injury] sometimes,” Josh Hart said after practice on Thursday. “But [he] looked good, looked confident and not like he was limping or dragging his leg or nervous to make movements, so that’s obviously a positive.

“With him, hopefully tomorrow [he’ll wake] up ready for shootaround — not much soreness – and hopefully ready to go.”

Brunson, however, will return, if not Friday against the Magic then soon thereafter, potentially one of the two games in a row the Knicks play against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers are also shorthanded without MVP center Joel Embiid (meniscus) and All-Star guard Tyrese Maxey, who must clear concussion protocol before returning to action.


Thibodeau said Anunoby is now day-to-day after undergoing surgery on his right elbow in early February.

Anunoby last played in the Knicks’ Jan. 27 matchup against the Miami Heat. He discovered inflammation in his shooting elbow shortly after. A loose bone fragment in his elbow caused the swelling, and he went under the needle to address the issue.

Anunoby was a full participant in Knicks practice on Thursday, even playing in what Bojan Bogdanovic described as a “really, really competitive” five-on-five scrimmage.

There remains no concrete timetable for Anunoby’s return to the floor, but by all accounts, he will be the first of the three — including Randle and Robinson — to return to the rotation for the Knicks.

“He’s looked good. Shot the ball well today,” Hart said after Thursday’s practice in Tarrytown. “Those kinds of things — when you take that step, it’s always you kinda hold your breath the next day to see how they react to kind of really upping the workload. So hopefully tomorrow, there’s not that much soreness or anything like that and can keep progressing.

“But he looked good. He looked like himself. Hopefully we get back soon.”

The Knicks traded RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a second-round pick to the Toronto Raptors in a Dec. 31 deal netting Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa. New York immediately won 13 of its next 16 games.

They enter Friday’s matchup against the Magic losers in nine of their last 12 games. Anunoby’s return can swing the tide.

“OG’s taking contact, he’s scrimmaging, and that sort of thing,” Thibodeau said. Asked if Anunoby’s close to a return, he said: “I’m not a doctor. So when they clear him, they clear him, but he’s doing well, very well.

“It’s day to day, we’ll see where he is. He’s making good progress. But he’s got to be cleared first to fully play.”


Randle was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice, said Thibodeau. The All-Star forward dislocated his shoulder in the final minutes of the Jan. 27 victory over the Heat and has since opted to forego season-ending surgery, instead deciding to rehab in hopes of making a return this season.

Randle cannot take full contact but is participating in practice with pads and can take light contact, Thibodeau said.

Randle’s decision to skip surgery is tricky given his style of play lends itself to throwing his shoulder into an opponent to create the separation needed to get his shot off.

Thibodeau said the Knicks won’t let Randle back onto the court until he fully trusts his body.

“He’ll be at a comfort level when he does come back. He’s handled his injuries that he’s had in the past well,” the coach said. “I think once he’s cleared, and usually what happens when a player goes through whatever injury they have, every player has to get back to where they trust their body again. And that usually doesn’t happen until there’s a play in the game where you go, ‘Hey, I’m OK.’

“So he’s doing all the work that he needs to do, and he’s making good progress, and just work your way through it.”


The Knicks feared Robinson’s surgery would be season-ending after a “wrong step” in a Dec. 8 loss to the Boston Celtics turned out to be a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Robinson, however, walked swiftly out of the practice arena on Thursday and had a normal gait about him as he cruised through the Madison Square Garden corridors ahead of tipoff against the Hawks.

After sticking to his rehab process, Robinson can now run and jump, Thibodeau said on Thursday.

Robinson told Thibodeau to tell reporters he looked good as a participant in Thursday’s practice.

“He’s making good steady progress,” Thibodeau said. “But he hasn’t had contact or anything like that. It just the normal progression that he’s making. Shooting and that sort of stuff. You can script a little bit with him. And that’s where we are with that.”


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