Knicks injury updates: Jalen Brunson will play and start Game 3, OG Anunoby out

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The New York Knicks, up 2-0 on the Indiana Pacers, are a mere two victories from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. The bad news is those wins just got a lot harder to come by as New York continues to be decimated by injuries. The latest to go down is OG Anunoby, who exited late in Game 2 with a hamstring strain that will keep him out of at least Game 3. Meanwhile, Jalen Brunson, who has turned into a full-blown New York legend, was listed as questionable for Game 3, but he will officially suit up and play.

Brunson was warming up ahead of Friday night’s Game 3, and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said “we’ll see” how Brunson’s foot responds before deciding if he’ll play. It stands to reason that Brunson’s foot responded well enough for him to not only be playing, but assuming his usual starting duties.

Brunson returned to put on an incredible show in the second half on what was (even more incredibly) the 54th anniversary to the day of Willis Reed limping out of the locker room for Game 7 of the Finals. Game 2 of the conference semis isn’t nearly the same as Game 7 of the Finals, but unlike Reed, Brunson has to try to keep playing. This isn’t a one-time gut-it-out situation. The Knicks need Brunson in the worst way, not only if they plan to finish off the Pacers, but if they want to have any chance in a likely matchup with Boston in the conference finals.

Remember, the Knicks are already down Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic for the remainder of the playoffs. They’re playing seven guys including Anunoby and Brunson. Take out Anunoby and you’re down to six. Take out Brunson, and, well, you do the math. Forget about the production the Knicks are losing; this is a matter of just having enough warm bodies. Get ready for about 44 minutes of Deuce McBride with plenty of Alec Burks sprinkled in.

What a crazy contrast these bummer injuries are for a team with about as electric of vibes as we’ve seen in the NBA in a while.

It feels like the energy the Knicks are riding should be enough to at least carry them past Indiana, but that’s largely dependent on Brunson now. If he can’t go, it’s danger time. Unless Tom Thibodeau can get into his lab coat and clone about four more Josh Harts.

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