New York Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle did not participate in the contact portions of the team’s practice on Tuesday.
Randle did “some running, shooting, scripting, that sort of thing,” according to Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Julius Randle did "some" of practice today, Tom Thibodeau said. No contact. Thibodeau said he's doing "some running, shooting, scripting, that sort of thing."
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) April 11, 2023
It was reported on Monday that Randle is targeting Game 1 of the Knicks’ playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers for his return from a sprained ankle. Randle was injured on March 29 in the Knicks’ win over the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden.
The two-time All-Star missed the final five games of the regular season for the Knicks, the only games he missed all season. There is still time for Randle to get cleared ahead of Saturday’s Game 1 between the Knicks and Cavs.
Randle is a huge part of the Knicks’ success this season. During the regular season, he led the team in scoring (25.1 points per game), rebounding (10.0 rebounds per game) and was second on the team in assists per game (4.1).
It’s nearly impossible for the Knicks to replace Randle’s production with one player, but the team did see some positive results over the final five games of the regular season.
New York started forward Obi Toppin in Randle’s place over the final five contests, and the former first-round pick averaged 21.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 58.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
A former lottery pick, Toppin is a very talented offensive player, but he doesn’t rebound nearly as well as Randle, as evidenced by the 3.2 rebounds per game he grabbed in five starts. The Knicks don’t have a ton of options at power forward after Toppin.
That could be a problem for New York if Randle can’t go in Game 1, as the Cavs start two bigs in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
While Randle’s status still appears to be in question for Game 1, there is still time for him to get cleared for New York.
The Cavs lost three of their four matchups against New York this season, so the team is hoping for a different result in the first round of the playoffs.