OG Anunoby of the Knicks lays up a basket in the...

OG Anunoby of the Knicks lays up a basket in the first half against the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 25. Credit: Jim McIsaac

OG Anunoby was cleared for basketball activities Thursday, exactly three weeks after he underwent a surgical procedure to remove a loose fragment in his right elbow. But there still remains no hard timetable on a return to game action.

“He’s been cleared for on-court work,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So he can shoot, dribble, pass. No contact yet. But the next step, and we’ll start that tomorrow. It’s premature [to predict when he can play]. He just cleared this next step. So all basketball activity aside from the contact will be the next thing. And then once that happens, he’ll be back.”

A report surfaced this week that Anunoby was targeting the middle of March for a return, but Thibodeau would not commit to that.

“Again, I think all that stuff is speculation,” he said. “It’s when he’s ready to play. The good thing was him getting cleared today. Now you go into the next phase. He’ll be checked by our medical people daily and then we go from there. This next step is the important one. Once the contact is added, then that’s when he’ll be ready to go.”

While the Knicks need him — and Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson — to return, their defense has taken a huge dip after skyrocketing when the team obtained Anunoby. But since losing Randle and Anunoby — and trading Quentin Grimes — they have ranked last in defensive rating.

“Probably it’s a combination,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously it’s [OG], but also coinciding with that is Isaiah [Hartenstein] going out. So some of our rim protection is gone. But we still have to find a way to get it done. Other guys, get in there and get it done.”

Kerr happy for DiVincenzo

Donte DiVincenzo played for Golden State last season, but Steve Kerr was happy to have him — and to see him go.

“He’s having a monster year,” Kerr said. “We loved having him last year. He played so well for us. I was really happy for him to sign with the Knicks. That was kind of the plan for him to sign for a year and then go back into free agency. We were hoping we’d be able to help his standing in the market, and that’s exactly what happened. It was really fun coaching him, and I’m happy for him and his success now.”

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