The health of Julius Randle has hovered over the buildup to the Knicks’ second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. Randle re-injured his left ankle in the Knicks’ series-clinching Game 5 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the quick turnaround, would he be ready for Game 1 against Miami?
Sadly, he will not. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Randle is expected to miss Game 1 on Sunday afternoon.
Knicks All-Star F Julius Randle (ankle sprain) is expected to be out for Game 1 vs. Miami today, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 30, 2023
Julius came out early and tested the ankle on the MSG court, and things looked promising, but it just didn’t work out for the All-Star forward. This is undeniably a huge blow for the Knicks. Obi Toppin will now step in at starting power forward. They don’t really have a true backup for Obi, so expect Tom Thibodeau to use Josh Hart or RJ Barrett as small-ball 4s.
On the plus side, this is a massive opportunity for Obi, who has played well this season when Julius was injured. The MSG crowd loves Obi, so he’ll be certain to get a huge ovation when announced in the starting lineup for the first time ever in a postseason game. Hopefully that crowd love propels him to a huge afternoon and a Knicks W.