Knicks’ Josh Hart Would Be ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ If Julius Randle, OG Anunoby Return This Season

After the New York Knicks lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday (3/31), Josh Hart admitted to NBA reporters that he would be “pleasantly surprised” if Julius Randle and OG Anunoby return this season. 

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Randle dislocated his right shoulder on January 27 against the Miami Heat, while Anunoby is dealing with pain and soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow. 

“I’m looking at it like this is the team we’re going to have,” Hart said, via ESPN. “I think that’s how we have to approach it, that those guys aren’t coming back and obviously we’ll be pleasantly surprised if they come back.

“I’m not in those medical conversations or anything like that, so I don’t know s— from s—. But we’ve got to approach every game and the end of this season that those guys aren’t coming back, and if they do, be pleasantly surprised.”

The Knicks are 44-30 on the season. They are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. 

New York acquired Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors. The team is 15-2 with Anunoby in the lineup. Anunoby, one of the top two-way players in the NBA, is averaging 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in 17 games with the Knicks.

Meanwhile, Randle is averaging 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.3 blocks this season. He has 18 double-doubles and one triple-double. 

“Just keep doing what he’s doing, day-to-day,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Randle’s rehab process. “You never know when it turns. That’s basically the approach we take.

“Rehab is really your game, so put everything you have into that. And eventually you’ll get there; you can’t get discouraged; just keep working at it. The other guys, they have a job to do.”

If the regular season ended today, New York would face the Orlando Magic in the first round of the 2024 playoffs. 

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