HomeViralBreaking: Julius Randle's Injury Timeline Revealed! Discover the Knicks' Game-Changing Strategies to...

Breaking: Julius Randle’s Injury Timeline Revealed! Discover the Knicks’ Game-Changing Strategies to Fill the Void

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An important update for Knicks star Julius Randle.

Losing your best (or second-best) player is never a good thing. And that’s exactly what happened to the New York Knicks on Saturday, when Julius Randle took a nasty spill on his right shoulder. 

Randle’s injury was officially diagnosed as a dislocated shoulder on Saturday night. The good news is that Randle’s time out will likely be measured in weeks, and not months, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. But while in-season surgery is unlikely, it remains a remote possibility. 

Coach Tom Thibodeau did not want to speculate regarding a timeline for Randle’s return prior to the Knicks game on Monday. But he did provide a timeline for an injury update.

“Probably in a day or two. He’s just gathering information right now,” Thibdoeau said prior to Tuesday’s game against the Jazz. “Should be shortly.”

How has New York performed without Randle?

It’s hard to measure the Knicks’ minutes without Randle on the floor. Why? Because they’ve mostly come against opposing teams’ second units. Put differently, Randle is usually on the floor against the opposing team’s best lineups. Conversely, whomever backs Randle up, subs in late in the first quarter, when the opposing team’s second unit is already on the floor. Long story short, it’s easier to match up against a team’s backup power forward than it is to do so against their starter.

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Randle has been extremely durable in his time with New York. He played in all but the last two games so far this season. The Knicks are 2-0 without Randle in 2023-24. New York was 3-2 without Randle last season, all of which came in the last five games of the year. They were 5-5 without him in 2021-22 and 1-0 without him in 2020-21. So, while the small sample size makes it difficult to gauge exactly how successful the Knicks can be without Randle, it’s fair to assume that it gets worse the longer Randle is out. 

Who will fill in for Randle?

Josh Hart is the logical answer, for now. Hart is struggling a bit this season. He’s only shooting 53.6% on two-point field goal attempts, which is the second-worst shooting percentage of his career. And he’s shooting a career-worst 30.8% on three-pointers. His per-36 numbers don’t inspire much hope either. He’s only averaging 9.3 points per 36 minutes. But extrapolations aren’t real life. Only time will tell if Hart’s struggles continue. Or maybe the increased opportunity brings out the best in him.

But there’s more to the equation than simply filling Randle’s minutes. If Hart steps into  Randle’s starting spot, who will replace the 28.7 minutes per game that Hart has provided? Keeping Obi Toppin around just in case this type of an injury stuck would have been overly conservative. Still, the fact that the Knicks have few other power forwards on their roster might be harmful in the immediate future — and it gets increasingly difficult to navigate if Randle’s injury keeps him sidelined for significant time beyond the All-Star break. 

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Precious Achiuwa is technically a power forward. He’s far less offensively versatile, but he could be part of the solution. Could. Unfortunately, instead of playing time at power forward, Achiuwa has played significant time at center because of injuries to Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein. Fortunately, Hartenstein is back from injury and Jericho Sims has looked better in the recent past than he has in a long time. So, maybe Achiuwa can be part of the solution.

Speaking of Toppin, maybe Obi’s brother Jacob Toppin can contribute. He is technically on the Knicks roster. He has virtually no body of work, having played in only three games for a grand total of four minutes. But he did average 20.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game through 12 games with the Westchester Knicks (New York’s G-League affiliate). It might not translate perfectly, but he should be able to contribute something

Who could Knicks trade for to fill in for Randle?

If New York doesn’t like what’s available to them currently — which is essentially a combination of Hart, Achiuwa, and Toppin — they can always try to trade for a power forward. The following players are all allegedly available, for the right price: Bojan Bogdanovic (DET), Kyle Kuzma (WAS), Jerami Grant (POR), PJ Washington (Charlotte), Harrison Barnes (SAC), and Kelly Olynyk (UTA). Most of those guys would fit nicely, and would be useful after Randle’s return, but they would cost at least a first-round pick, if not more. But is it worth adding a stop-gap player who won’t be nearly as necessary following Randle’s return if it costs you assets you could use to fill other needs?

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There are other options like PJ Tucker (LAC) and Covington (PHI). Those guys would probably be cheaper, but they are bigger gambles. Tucker hasn’t played since being traded to the Clippers in November, and Covington’s impact has been shrinking since at least the start of the 2022-23 season — and is now nearly non-existent. 

Ultimately, this injury isn’t a game changer. If Randle returns in a month or so, he should return as a very similar player to the one who was available prior to Saturday (as the injury was to his non-shooting arm). The prudent thing for New York to do is exercise patience. Wait. See exactly how long Randle is expected to be out. And continue ahead with the original plan, which includes filling pre-existing needs (e.g., a back-up lead guard and/or scoring guard). 

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