Should the Knicks be worried about OG Anunoby’s long-term health?

New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) dunks the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

A new development has sprung regarding the health of New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby. After playing in his first game versus the Philadelphia 76ers without issues, he played through a tremendous amount of pain in his surgically repaired right elbow in their win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Several times throughout the game, the forward was spotted favoring his right arm and flexing his elbow after doing anything strenuous on the court.

Anunoby’s elbow soreness does not appear to be serious

Both Anunoby and head coach Tom Thibodeau dismissed the seriousness of the injury, both deeming it as an expected soreness after recently undergoing surgery.

“It’s just sore. Nothing really happened,” said Anunoby via The Athletic’s Fred Katz. “Just went for a ball. And it hurt randomly, but it’s fine.”

Anunoby also indicated to the New York Post’s Stefan Bondy that he expects to play Saturday night versus the Sacramento Kings, though the Knicks are listing him as questionable for the game with what they call “right elbow injury management.”

Evidently, this seems to be a matter of pain tolerance for Anunoby as opposed to a heightened re-injury risk, which for Knicks fans is a subtle sigh of relief. However, Anunoby potentially being limited could hurt the Knicks, as they need his full services now more than ever.

The Knicks are dominant when OG Anunoby plays

Since acquiring Anunoby, New York is 14-2 with him in the lineup versus just 8-10 without him and has one of the top net ratings in the league at 16.5 in those 16 games he’s played.

Along with the phenomenal defensive tenacity and coverage, a healthy Anunoby also gives the Knicks another aggressive scoring option alongside Jalen Brunson with Julius Randle still out as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder.

If his elbow continues to give him problems, he may be less effective on the court, especially offensively, as a bad elbow could hinder his ability to knock down jump shots.

As the postseason inches closer, the injury will be something that the Knicks will closely monitor as time passes by. The hope is that by the playoffs, Anunoby will be able to tolerate any soreness that may stem from the surgery and be a driving factor in a deep playoff run.

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