Knicks Notes: Anunoby, Hartenstein, Brunson, Achiuwa

Knicks forward OG Anunoby is at the final step of his injury rehabilitation process, practicing without limitations, as relayed by SNY’s Ian Begley. He’s scrimmaging five-on-five and taking contact.

Just see how he responds the next day [after a practice], the doctor clears him, then he can go,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Getting Anunoby back from injury would be huge for a Knicks team that is only has a 2.5-game cushion on the East’s eighth seed. New York is 12-2 with Anunoby in the lineup this season and has gone just 8-9 since he went down with his elbow injury.

Anunoby has averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per night while shooting 51.6% from the field and 39.1% from deep in the 14 games he has played with New York so far.

We have more Knicks notes:

  • Isaiah Hartenstein was a huge factor in the Knicks defeating the Magic on Friday while holding Orlando to a league-wide season-low 74 points, Begley observes in the same story. Hartenstein had three blocks as he continues to play through Achilles soreness as part of his ramp-up plan to full strength. “Isaiah’s defense to start the game was top of the line,” Thibodeau said. “That’s as active as he’s been in quite a while so it was great to see.” By defeating the Magic, the Knicks moved back into the fourth seed in the East.
  • After missing the previous game with a knee contusion, Jalen Brunson returned for the Knicks and scored 26 points against the Magic while New York held Orlando to the lowest point total of any opponent since 2012, the New York Post’s Stefan Bondy observes. Brunson’s knee injury looked worse than it was, and he was back to making impact plays quickly. “I thought of a thousand different situations of what [the injury] could have been and I’m just glad it wasn’t,” Brunson said.
  • Precious Achiuwa, brought in alongside Anunoby, was also big in the win over the Magic, recording a career-high five blocks. He h as been crucial to the Knicks staying afloat despite numerous injuries, starting each of the past 17 games while averaging 12.8 points, 9.5 rebounds. 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals. Achiuwa expressed gratitude to supporting fans after the win. “Just being able to come back home and represent the city means a lot to me,” Achiuwa said, per Knicks on MSG (Twitter link). “I just want to say thank you, New York City – I love you guys.
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