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Knicks’ OG Anunoby progresses to ‘light work on the court’ in hamstring rehab

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OG Anunoby hasn’t made huge progress after going down with a left hamstring strain, but his head coach did provide a small update regarding the forward’s rehab on Tuesday.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Game 5 against the Pacers, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said Anunoby has progressed to doing “light work on the court.” Thibodeau, however, couldn’t provide a timeline for the player a Knicks team desperately needs in the semifinals series against a deep Pacers squad.

“Not really,” the coach said if there’s a specific timeline for Anunoby’s return. “Just really the same, a little bit better. That’s where he is.”

Anunoby progressing to light on-court work is a step forward from Sunday’s update of the forward only doing pool work. The coach previously mentioned that Anunoby had yet to do any running. He didn’t provide an update Tuesday on Anunoby beginning any running.

The forward injured his hamstring in the third quarter of Game 2 against the Pacers after attempting to rise for a layup on a fastbreak attempt. He missed his third straight game after sitting out Game 5 at Madison Square Garden and a return for Game 6 on the road sounds unlikely. Guard Miles “Deuce” McBride got the start Tuesday in place of Anunoby.

When asked what benchmarks the forward needs to reach before a return, Thibodeau didn’t disclose any specifics.

“That’s [a] medical ,” he said. “When he’s ready, he’s ready.”

In the Game 2 victory, Anunoby stepped up in the first half while star Jalen Brunson was off the floor dealing with a foot injury. Anunoby’s defense was desperately missed in Games 3 and 4. The team showed signs of tired legs and eventually relinquished a series lead after coming out flat in Game 4.

BURKS STAYING READY

Before being thrown into the fire in Game 3 against the Pacers, guard Alec Burks had recorded just 44 seconds of action this postseason. He mostly spent time on the bench since arriving in New York in a deadline day deal on Feb 8. He was a Thibodeau-rotation favorite in his previous Knicks tenure, but failed to see much playing time in this regular season. The last time Burks recorded at least 15 minutes of action before the postseason was in a March 23 win against the Nets.

Now, Burks’ services are desperately needed with the Knicks without Anunoby and Bojan Bogdanovic due to postseason injuries. And the head coach acknowledged the guard’s readiness after he provided needed relief in Games 3 and 4 against the Pacers.

“Yeah, we know who he is,” Thibodeau said about the guard who scored 14 and 20 points in Games 3 and 4, respectively. Burks played 21 minutes in Game 3 and 23 in the blowout Game 4.

“He’s professional, he stays ready,” the head coach added. “Even when he wasn’t in the rotation, that didn’t change what he was doing everyday. So we felt he would be prepared if he was called upon and he was.”

GAME 4 FILM

Sunday’s embarrassing 32-point Game 4 loss showcased a Knicks team that got overwhelmed for all four quarters. Aside from Burks’ readiness, the team didn’t have many positives to look back on.

But Thibs believes each game is a teaching moment during film sessions.

“I think every game tells you something,” the head coach said. “So you look at it, you take what you need to take from it, and then you get ready for the next one. So it’s got to be our mindset. We know we have to be a lot better for 48 minutes.”

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