The 2022-23 season was gearing toward ending positively for New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, who was on track to play in all 82 regular season games. Before Randle could reach the finish line, he suffered a sprained ankle against the Heat on March 29.
His status for Game 1 of the first-round series against Cleveland was up in the air, and shortly before tip-off, he was upgraded to available. After Randle scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a 101-97 win, he admitted he was “tired as hell” in his first game in over two weeks.
Luck wasn’t on Randle’s side, as in Game 5, he sprained the same ankle for the second time in a month. He was forced to miss Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Heat, which resulted in a Knicks loss.
Upon Randle’s return, he didn’t look the same. Fans didn’t cut him any slack, which was understandable given his blatant lack of effort at times. Randle finished the postseason averaging 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, shooting a poor 37.4% from the field and 25.8% from three.
A couple of weeks later, fans learned Randle’s ankle injury was more severe than suspected, as he underwent surgery at the beginning of June.
Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau gives brief yet promising update on Julius Randle
The Knicks reported that Julius Randle would be able to “resume basketball activities later this summer,” and his rehab lived up to that expectation. Just last week, he posted a video to his Instagram story where he jokingly said Johnnie Bryant needed to go to jail for the workout he put the forward through.
In a recent interview with NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner, Tom Thibodeau confirmed Randle will be ready to go for the 2023-24 season.
"Just steady progress. He’s had a very good offseason. He’ll be fresh and ready to go."
Thibodeau is a man of few words, but that’s the exact update fans have wanted to hear. Randle is easily the most polarizing Knick, but he’s been an All-NBA/All-Star player in two of the past three seasons.
Expectations are high for New York entering the new year, and Randle’s availability will be crucial to what the team hopes will be a deeper playoff run than 2023. He’s had his fair share of struggles in the playoffs, but maybe he’ll be able to put that criticism behind him once and for all.