Knicks39 Julius Randle expected to miss several weeks with shoulder

Knicks' Julius Randle expected to miss several weeks with shoulder dislocation: Sources – The Athletic

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle is expected to miss at least a few weeks with a dislocated shoulder, league sources said Monday.

The news comes after Randle suffered the injury during Saturday's win against the Miami Heat. He underwent an MRI over the weekend and is awaiting multiple opinions on his shoulder. For now, the Knicks are optimistic that he won't need surgery at the end of the season, according to league sources.

The optimism is a boost for the Knicks, who have been on the rise since acquiring OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors a month ago. New York is 12-2 with Anunoby in the starting lineup, a stretch that includes convincing victories over top-tier teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, Randle has played at an All-Star level during this time.

“That gives us good vibes that he won't be out too long,” Knicks winger Josh Hart said Monday after the team's shootout in Charlotte, North Carolina. “So we just have to make sure that we stay somewhat afloat during this time.” I think we have the conditions to do that. So we have to focus on that and hope that he gets well soon.”

The upcoming schedule is kind to the Knicks, who are 29-17 in fourth place in the Eastern Conference this season.

On Monday night they face the hapless Hornets (10-34). After that, there will be six home games in a row. Eight days off during the All-Star break also provide Randle with additional time to rest.

The team has not yet said who will start in Randle's place, although Hart is likely to be the favorite with Anunoby moving down to power forward. If Randle's rehab doesn't go as well as the Knicks expect, they have time to make roster moves. The trading deadline is February 8th.

New York has become arguably the most physical team in the NBA, beating anyone who walks into Madison Square Garden these days. Randle, a brute force on offense and on the glass, is an important part of that identity. He averaged 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists to earn his third All-Star appearance in four seasons.

Whether Hart starts or someone else, no one can replicate Randle's production.

“I think it will be a collective (effort),” Hart said. “Unless I manage to put on 45 pounds of mostly muscle before the game.”

Knicks starting guard Donte DiVincenzo echoes a similar sentiment to Hart — minus the size.

“He’s a big guy,” DiVincenzo said. “A lot of times he’s on the weak side collecting those rebounds. It takes two or three people to get the big guys off the boards. The guards – Jalen (Brunson) and I, Quentin (Grimes) – we have to fly in there. Josh is a good rebounder. OG. They will have some larger bodies. So it’s up to us to fly in there and help them and also just go in there and grab the board.”

Randle was injured late in the fourth quarter of a 125-109 win over the Heat. He drove to the basket and tried to jump over Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr., who was trying to fend off a charge. Randle, who received the blocking foul, fell and landed on his right shoulder, which dislocated.

The 29-year-old quickly went to the locker room, didn't shoot the free throws and didn't return to the court.

When asked if he was worried about the injury, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau responded with one word: “Very.”

“He’s a guy that plays through things, and that’s what you love about him,” Thibodeau said. “He is a warrior. And so every time someone comes back, you know it's something. I don’t want to speculate until we have the information.”

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(Photo: Vincent Carchietta / USA Today)