Latest update on injured Knicks stars indicates Julius Randle may be the first to return

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau high fives New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) with guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) and forward OG Anunoby (8) and guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have finally started to receive good injury luck. First, they dodged a bullet regarding Jalen Brunson’s knee injury, and now more positive news has come out of Julius Randle (shoulder) and OG Anunoby’s (elbow) rehab.

Julius Randle might return before OG Anunoby

SNY’s Ian Begley reported on Monday that both stars are on track to return to game action sometime this month, adding that Randle has progressed very quickly in his rehab from a dislocated shoulder and could be the first of the pair to come back.

“OG Anunoby, as of late last week, was a little bit behind Randle. He had started shooting recently, he hadn’t been cleared for contact, though, and he wasn’t doing everything that Randle had been doing in his workouts,” said Begley.

Begley added that both of them will “definitely” be back in games before the end of March, provided that no setbacks occur, which is an extremely positive development after initial concerns surrounding the uncertainty of both of their respective injuries.

Randle and Anunoby have both been out since Jan. 27. The Knicks tried to see if rest could help solve Anunoby’s elbow issue before deciding to have him undergo a minor procedure just before the All-Star break. As for Randle, surgery hasn’t been ruled out completely, though all signs are pointing to him avoiding it for now at least until the offseason.

Randle, a 2024 All-Star, is averaging 24 points, 9.2 rebounds, and five assists while shooting 47% from the field. Anunoby has played 14 games since coming over in a trade with the Toronto Raptors and has been superb with New York, averaging 15.6 points while shooting 51% from the field and 39% from three, and boasts an overly impressive plus-minus rating of +252.

The Knicks were surging before the injury bug hit

Prior to their injuries, the Knicks quickly became one of the best teams in the NBA, riding an impressive January in which they went 14-2. Since they went down, the Knicks are just 7-8 and have dropped seven of their last 10 games.

They still hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’ve seen their lead over the teams behind slip. Entering Tuesday, they hold a 1.5-game lead over the no. 7 seed Miami Heat.

As the Knicks desperately await Randle and Anunoby’s returns, they will try to stay afloat in the East behind Jalen Brunson and the rest of the available players. With just 21 games left in the regular season, things are shaping up for a competitive finish to the playoff race.

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