NBA Rumors: New York Knicks get encouraging updates on possible returns of Julius Randle, OG Anunoby

The New York Knicks are expected to welcome back two key core players before the end of the regular season.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks
Miami Heat v New York Knicks / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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NBA Rumors: New York Knicks key contributors OG Anunoby and Julius Randle are expected to return at some point before the end of the season.

If one thing has become clear for the New York Knicks over the last few weeks of the season, it's that if they're going to make a deep run in the NBA Playoffs, they're going to need to get healthy, and in a hurry.

The Knicks have been without both OG Anunoby (elbow) and Julius Randle (shoulder) for the last month. It's clear that the Knicks are different teams with them healthy vs. with them off the floor. Specifically, the Knicks are 12-2 this season when Anunoby plays. Since his absence from the lineup (which has overlapped with the loss of Randle), the Knicks are just 6-6. Specifically, the Knicks have struggled mightily over the last couple of weeks of action. During that span, dating back before the NBA All-Star break, the Knicks have lost six of their last nine games.

On February 2, the Knicks were a half-game out of the second seed in the Eastern Conference standings. After New York's most recent slide, which has a lot to do with their injuries, the Knicks are 4th in the East and three full games out of the second seed, with the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat on their heels.

In short, it's safe to say that the Knicks desperately need Anunoby and Randle back in the lineup if they're going to A) stay afloat as a top 6 team in the East and B) if they have any plans of making a deep run in the postseason. The good news is that it appears Anunoby and Randle could be nearing a return.

An injury update on Julius Randle and OG Anunoby

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Randle's rehab is going well and the goal is still for him to return before the end of the season. Additionally, Anunoby is expected to be back on the floor for the Knicks in the next 2-3 weeks. Shams also added that there's an outside chance Mitchell Robinson, who has been out of the lineup battling an ankle injury since early December, can also return this season.

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Even though these are all encouraging updates on the injury front for the Knicks, the big question is whether they can hold the fort down until reinforcements return. With the way the Knicks have played over the last few weeks, that's a very big question mark.