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Knicks’ vague injury designation for OG Anunoby opens up several possibilities for severity

MIAMI — The new diagnosis for OG Anunoby is vague and “generic,” but on the surface, “elbow tendinopathy” shouldn’t be too concerning, according to two surgeons who spoke to The Post.

After Anunoby missed the last seven games due to “injury management,” the Knicks changed the designation to “right elbow tendinopathy” on Monday.

The team did not specify which tendon was involved.


OG Anunoby (c.) continues to miss time for the Knicks due to an elbow injury.
OG Anunoby (center) continues to miss time for the Knicks with an elbow injury. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“It’s just a very general term. “You don’t know if it’s tennis elbow, that would be tendinopathy on the outside of the elbow, you don’t know if it’s tendinopathy on the inside of the elbow, that would be golfer’s elbow,” said Dr. Andrew S. Rokito, chief of shoulder and elbow surgery at NYU Langone Orthopedics. “It could be the triceps tendon, the biceps tendon. Tendinopathy literally means inflammation of the tendon. There are a lot of tendons around the elbow.”

Tennis elbow is the most common elbow tendinopathy and is treated like any other – with conservative measures such as rest, anti-inflammatories, stretching exercises, physiotherapy, etc.

If those don’t work, a cortisone or PRP injection could be the next step, the surgeons said.

The Knicks have not revealed whether Anunoby received a shot.

“Ninety percent of the time it can get better conservatively,” said Dr. Salil Gupta, clinical assistant professor at NYU.

Although elbow tendinopathy is not a common reaction to the arthroscopic surgery Anunoby underwent in early February, Gupta said he was not surprised.

“If he’s done something during his recovery from surgery or his return to play where he’s injured those muscles and tendons or overused them and now they’re getting sore and painful, basically it’s always going to hurt him if you do anything “Does with force” and violence,” Gupta said. “Because the tendon itself isn’t happy.”

Gupta added that the diagnosis isn’t a warning sign — “there’s not a big concern that there’s anything more structurally damaged” — but as Rokito noted, “elbow tendinopathy” is difficult to parse.

“It’s very, very vague,” Gupta said. “They don’t tell you much.”

Is elbow tendinopathy too painful to play through?

“It really all depends on his symptoms,” Gupta said. “So if it’s mild you can play through it, as long as the pain doesn’t get worse it’s no big deal.” But sometimes it can be really painful. It can be painful when simple tasks like lifting a coffee cup can cause severe pain. But other activities such as weight lifting and training don’t hurt either. So it really just depends on when and if you use the muscles that are causing pain.”


New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) drives against Denver Nuggets center DeAndre Jordan.
New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) drives against Denver Nuggets center DeAndre Jordan. AP

Anunobdy missed his eighth straight game on Tuesday after his surgically repaired elbow “flared up,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.

That followed a game in Portland in which Anunoby was visibly uncomfortable and was holding his elbow. The Knicks downplayed it at the time.

Before the surgery, Anunoby missed 18 straight games due to an injury the Knicks initially described only as “elbow inflammation.”

This was eventually changed to “bone spur irritation.”

He has missed 27 of 44 games since being traded from the Raptors to the Knicks.

Earlier this season, while still with Toronto, Anunoby missed three games with a finger injury.

According to the team, he sustained the cut while doing household chores.

Anunoby also had to play one game this season with leg cramps.

The 26-year-old could be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and league insiders speculate he’s looking at a deal in the range of four years and $160 million.

He would have to decline his $20 million player option for next season.

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