Insider Shares Discouraging Injury Update on Knicks’ Julius Randle

There is little optimism that New York Knicks‘ three-time All-Star Julius Randle will return fully healthy if he elects to delay surgery to repair his dislocated right shoulder in the offseason.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “there’s not full clarity yet” on Randle’s next step.

“Last season when he had an ankle injury, a lot of suggestions to him from medical people that he might want to have that surgery — that he put off to the offseason — during the season,” Wojnarowski said on the “NBA Countdown” before the Knicks-Boston Celtics game on Saturday, February 24. “He didn’t do it. He played injured into the playoffs, then had the procedure in the offseason. So you kind of start there with Julius Randle.

There’s more concern this season about not just getting him back, but how effective can he be playing with that injured right shoulder?”

Randle played through his ankle sprain and it affected his play. But the Knicks still reached the second round, pushing eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat to six games despite Randle shooting just 41.1% from the field and a horrendous 28.1% from deep.

The fear is the Knicks will get that version of Randle again in the postseason if he pushes through his planned comeback without surgery.

“His inclination is to play,” Wojnarowski continued. “And it is to play even if he’s hurt and in some discomfort. That’s his goal right now — to try to get back and play and put anything off to the offseason. But that’s still fluid that’s not been fully decided.”

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ESPN/ABC sideline reporter Lisa Salters added that Randle went through an individual workout at Madison Square Garden before the Knicks-Celtics game. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he expects Randle to return by mid-March if he forego surgery, according to Salters.

Tim Legler Raises Concern About Knicks Frontcourt Logjam

If Randle returns before the postseason, ESPN analyst Tim Legler wonders how will Thibodeau manage the power forward rotation with the emergence of Precious Achiuwa.

“I don’t know how Tom Thibodeau is going to keep this guy’s minutes down when [Julius] Randle comes back,” Legler said on the “All NBA” podcast. “I know how important Julius Randle is. And they just added [Bojan] Bogdanovic, who’s really a [power forward]. I guess you could play him some at [small forward]. Precious Achiuwa is a prototypical [power forward]. And I’m curious to see what Thibodeau is gonna do.”

Achiuwa entered Saturday’s game against the Celtics as the league leader in minutes in February, averaging 41.3 per game, and no. 3 in offensive rebounds with 5.4 per game, which makes him so valuable in Thibodeau’s system.

“This is yeoman’s work and he never gives up on the offensive glass. He’s a relentless defender. He finishes around the rim,” Legler added.

Julius Randle Non-Committal on Surgery

What’s giving Randle a hard time deciding is the Knicks are in a great position with all the upgrades their front office did during a season where the Eastern Conference is wide open.

“I mean, we’ll see. There are still necessary steps. It’s a process to everything. I have to weigh out everything ultimately and decide from there,” Randle said via New York Post on February 21. “But right now I’m just focused on trying to avoid [surgery], obviously, and get back on the court as soon as I can.”

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“But I’m never somebody to say never, so ultimately I have to do what’s best for myself to have a long career, have longevity in this. The training staff has been great, getting me back healthy and feeling better, so it’s a process.”

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