Knicks’ vague OG Anunoby injury designation opens up multiple severity possibilities

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

After stating Anunoby missed the previous seven games with “injury management,” the Knicks changed the designation Monday to “right elbow tendinopathy.”

The team didn’t specify which tendon.

OG Anunoby (c.) continues to miss time for the Knicks with 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 generic term. You don’t know if it’s tennis elbow, which would be tendinopathy on the outside of the elbow, you don’t know if it’s tendinopathy in the inside of the elbow, which would be golfer’s elbow,” said Dr. Andrew S. Rokito, chief of the Division of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery at NYU Langone Orthopedics. “It could be the triceps tendon, the biceps tendon. Tendinopathy just means — translated literally — inflammation of the tendon. There’s a lot of tendons around the elbow.”

Tennis elbow is the most common elbow tendinopathy and treated like the rest — with conservative measures like rest, anti-inflammatories, stretching, physical therapy, etc.

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

The Knicks haven’t revealed whether Anunoby received an injection.

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

Though elbow tendinopathy isn’t a common reaction to the arthroscopic surgery Anunoby underwent in early February, Gupta said he’s not surprised.

“If during the process of his recovery from the surgery or his returning to play he did something where he injured those muscles and tendons or he overused them and now they become sore and painful, it’s basically going to hurt him anytime you do anything with strength and force,” Gupta said. “Because the tendon itself is not happy.”

Gupta added that the diagnosis doesn’t present a red flag — “it’s not a huge concern of something being more structurally damaged — but, like Rokito noted, “elbow tendinopathy” is difficult to analyze.

“That’s very, very vague,” Gupta said. “They’re not telling you much.”

Is elbow tendinopathy too painful to play through?

”That all really depends on his symptoms,” Gupta said. “So if it’s mild then you can play through it, as long as the pain isn’t getting worse it’s not a big deal. But sometimes it can be really painful. It can be painful where doing simple tasks like lifting a coffee cup can be intense pain. But then other activities like lifting and working out don’t hurt. So it really just depends on when and if you’re using the muscles that provoke 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 Tuesday after his surgically repaired elbow “flared up,” said coach Tom Thibodeau.

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

Before the surgery, Anunoby missed 18 consecutive games with an injury that was first described by the Knicks as only “elbow inflammation.”

That 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 lacerated finger.

He sustained the cut while doing household chores, according to the team.

Anunoby also sat a game this season with cramps in his leg.

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

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