Julius Randle surgery a ‘tough blow’ to Knicks teammates

There was a different energy as the Knicks prepared for the Kings on Thursday night, after hearing the disappointing, though not quite shocking, injury news about teammate Julius Randle.

The All-Star forward is set to undergo season-ending surgery, the team announced before the game. He dislocated his right shoulder Jan. 27 against the Heat — with the Knicks on a 12-2 tear at the time.

“I just feel for us because he just kept us in the wind for two months,” Josh Hart, who was set to play against the Kings after nursing an injured right wrist, said jokingly before Thursday’s game with Sacramento.


New York Knicks forward Julius Randle
New York Knicks forward Julius Randle Jason Szenes for New York Post

“[He was] working his butt off trying to get back, but unfortunately he just wasn’t able to. Tough low for us, but we just got to keep focus on what we have in the locker room, and he’ll be there to support us.

“As competitors, as hoopers, you never want your season to end on an injury. It’s tough, frustrating for him.”

That was sentiment echoed by other teammates.

“It’s kind of sad from a personal standpoint. He was putting a lot of work in to try to come back,” Isaiah Hartenstein said. “I think a lot of players in the league would probably just give up right away and say, I’m getting the surgery.”

Randle, 29, was cleared for workouts in March, which started a waiting game with the team’s doctors and trainers — hoping to hear he would be cleared for contact.

The answer wasn’t one the Knicks wanted to hear.

“Nothing I really saw that pointed that direction,” said Hart, who shared a pregame shooting slot with Randle. “But it was just kind of like he’s doing everything he can and obviously just wasn’t able to.”

However, it was an answer they were prepared for. 

“We’ve been kind of going into every game like these are the guys we have. If we get anyone back, it’s extra,” Hartenstein said. “So, I think we’ve been going through a lot this year, but I’m happy where we are, and we’ve got to finish it out strong.”


Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks reacts after an injury against the Miami Heat in the second half at Madison Square Garden on January 27, 2024
Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks reacts after an injury against the Miami Heat in the second half at Madison Square Garden on January 27, 2024. Getty Images

“We’re not replacing Julius individually. We’re doing it collectively,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And that’s the one thing that this team has responded extremely well to.”

The Knicks were 29-17 after a win over Miami in the game when Randle was injured. Since then, they were 15-14 as play began Thursday.

Last season, Randle played through the playoffs with an ankle injury before undergoing surgery over the summer.

This year, he’ll miss it all together as the Knicks fight to stay out of a play-in spot after falling to fifth in the East amid the three-game losing streak they carried into the game against the Kings.

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