Julius Randle needs surgery on right shoulder, will miss the rest of New York Knicks' season

FILE - New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) posts up as Miami Heat guard Terry Rozier (2) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in New York. Julius Randle needs right shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season, a crushing blow for a New York Knicks team that was surging before the All-Star forward was hurt in January. The Knicks said Thursday, April 4, that Randle would be re-evaluated in five months. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie, File) (Peter K. Afriyie, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Julius Randle needs surgery on his right shoulder and will miss the rest of the season, a crushing blow for a New York Knicks team that was surging before the All-Star forward was hurt in January.

The Knicks said Thursday that Randle would be re-evaluated in five months, meaning it's unclear if he will even be ready for the start of next season.

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But they had focused on their possibilities for this season when Randle dislocated his shoulder Jan. 27 in a victory over the Miami Heat. The Knicks ended up 14-2 that month, tied for the second-most wins in franchise history in a month.

But without Randle, and fellow starters OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson out for most of their games since then, the Knicks had fallen into fifth place in the Eastern Conference entering their game Thursday against Sacramento.

“Tough blow for us, but we’ve just got to focus on what we have in the locker room and he’ll to be there to support us,” Knicks forward Josh Hart said.

Randle told Bleacher Report he decided on surgery after re-injuring the shoulder during a full-contact workout more than a month ago — though Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has consistently said Randle was never cleared to take contact.

Thibodeau clarified after the Knicks' victory over the Kings that Randle had been working out with controlled contact, meaning there were pads involved. He didn't say there was a setback, but rather that Randle may have felt more soreness after some workouts.

Randle was hurt when he landed hard with 4:27 remaining in the victory over the Heat when Jaime Jaquez Jr. stepped in front of him trying to take a charge on Randle’s drive to the basket. He has since been rehabbing the shoulder in hopes of avoiding surgery and returning in time for the postseason.

The regular season ends next weekend and the playoffs begin April 20.

“We wanted to take a look at, could we rehab it and strengthen it get it to the point where he could play?” Thibodeau said. “And we could never get there, so this is the decision.”

Randle said it came after he met with multiple shoulder specialists who warned him of the danger he faced.

“One said I 100% needed to get surgery. Another one said I’m at risk, but if I dislocated it again, I could damage it permanently,” Randle told Bleacher Report. “I believe in this team and wanted to give it a try. It didn’t work out, unfortunately. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it was my only option at this point. It wasn’t getting right.”

Randle finishes this season with an average of 24 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was picked for his third All-Star team days after his injury.

Randle sprained his ankle late in the 2022-23 regular season, but returned in time for the playoffs. He re-injured the ankle in the Knicks' clinching victory over Cleveland and missed Game 1 of their second-round loss to Miami.

He had surgery on the ankle in the offseason and came back strong this season. The rugged forward had been working hard again after his latest injury, but couldn't get to the point where the shoulder could safely stand up to the physicality he plays with.

“So he’s got to trust his gut on that,” Thibodeau said. “And so he did everything he could. That’s all you can ask of anyone and then move on.”

Thibodeau did say Anunoby is doing better and the Knicks were optimistic about his return. The forward who debuted with the Knicks on New Year's Day returned from elbow surgery to play three games last month, but went out again and missed his ninth straight game on Thursday.


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