The New York Knicks announced on Thursday, Feb. 8, that forward OG Anunoby has undergone surgery to remove a loose bone fragment from his right elbow. Anunoby will be re-evaluated in three weeks, aiming at coming back after that period, which will most probably get them into March.
OG Anunoby had successful surgery to remove a loose bone fragment from his right elbow. He will be re-evaluated in 3 weeks.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 8, 2024
The details of the surgery, including the date on which it took place were not disclosed by the team with head coach Tom Thibodeau indicating that he was “unaware” of the surgery’s timing, only revealing it did not take place last week at least as far as he knows.
“We tried to approach it with rest first and then you trust the medical, you trust him and this was the best course of action,” Thibodeau said. “And we’re optimistic that it rolls into the All-Star break, so it seemed to make the most sense to all of us.”
Anunoby is expected to be sidelined for a period that overlaps the All-Star break, with doctors set to re-evaluate him in three weeks, nearly a week after the break is over, and with the Knicks out of the schedule for the first two days of March.
Looking at the upcoming schedule, Anunoby will miss the next eight games (including Golden State’s on Feb. 29, the exact day for the completion of the aforementioned three-week period) having already missed six including Thursday’s matchup against Dallas on the day of the surgery announcement.
Anunoby had already missed five games before the announcement came on the day the Knicks hosted Dallas coinciding with the trade deadline.
No wonder, New York landed a couple of veteran reinforcements on Thursday—Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons—in a transaction that was later said to be linked to OG’s surgery and upcoming absence.
Ian Begley of SNY revealed that he was told the “uncertainty/concern around OG Anunoby injury has factored in to NYK’s deadline approach.”
He added that Anunoby “had been making progress late last week” but after not being able to make it back to the floor at any point the Knicks ultimately changed his injury description “from elbow inflammation to bone spur irritation” in the injury report before announcing the surgery had already taken place earlier this week.
Told that uncertainty/concern around OG Anunoby injury has factored in to NYK’s deadline approach. Heard Anunoby had been making progress late last week but he’s missed games since then. NYK yesterday changed injury description from elbow inflammation to bone spur irritation.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 8, 2024
With the injury and the surgery, which was expected to arrive at some point during or after the season, Anunoby joins Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson on the mid-term shelves with a comeback not expected before next month and the three presumptive starters aiming at returning to the court before the postseason rolls around.
When asked about the possibility that OG might have arrived injured from Toronto when he was initially traded to New York (he had to undergo physical tests, so that’s debatable), Thibodeau said he wasn’t sure about it.
“It’s hard to say, like, when [the injury] exactly happened because it was the inflammation first. These things are not uncommon,” Thibodeau said. “When you play in 50 games, most players are nicked up with something this time of year. So it was inflammation and we thought we could get through it and unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So then you gather the information, you consult the experts and then you make a decision.”
Before hitting the shelf, Anunoby was averaging 15.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game as a Knick with the team outscoring opponents by 252 points over the 14 games he played. He’s shooting above 51% from the floor and a bit over 39% from beyond the arc.
It’s been reported that the Knicks are “optimistic” Anunoby will return fully healthy for the final games of the regular season and the postseason. The franchise tried to go with simple resting but in the end, they decided to walk the path of the knife as a quicker way to deal with all issues and remove them entirely to prevent future setbacks.
You can follow Antonio on X / Twitter at @chapulana.