Knicks star forward suffers dislocated shoulder, X-ray reveals minimal damage

NBA: Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have received news that Julius Randle, who suffered a nasty injury against the Miami Heat after taking a hard fall, has dislocated his shoulder. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that there wasn’t much damage in the X-ray and that there will be an MRI tonight, and the Knicks dodged a potential bullet here with their second-best scorer on the season. Randle, who has elevated his play in the new year, avoids a more serious injury that could have required surgery or even ended his season.

More details about a timeline are yet to come, but the Knicks could have avoided a worst-case scenario in what was a seemingly ugly injury at first.

Knicks May Have Avoided a Worst-Case Scenario with Julius Randle

NBA: Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Jan 27, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball as Miami Heat forward Haywood Highsmith (24) and forward Jimmy Butler (22) defend during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle has been the Knicks’ second-best player this season, scoring 24.1 points per game on 47.3% shooting from the field, and this injury suffered against the Heat looked seriously ugly at first. He was writhing in pain before being escorted off of the court and into the locker room, where he missed the final minutes of their blowout win. Head coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned being ‘very’ worried about the injury in the post-game press conference, and we’ll have to wait and see how long he’ll need to recover.

He’s extremely important to their offense, and he’s improved on the defensive end as well. The two-time All-NBA forward has embraced the city and become one of the best players in the league, and this loss certainly affects the Knicks in the meantime. With the NBA Trade Deadline nearing, the Knicks are expected to make a move to improve their bench scoring, and they’ll need it more than they ever have in the absence of a reliable scorer and shot creator.

The second unit has relied heavily on Julius Randle to create offense for them, and without him, there’s some scheming that the coaching staff will have to do to stagger minutes and keep the bench afloat. As for the starting five, we likely see OG Anunoby slide to the four, as his long wingspan allows him to guard taller forwards and provide mayhem at the rim, and Josh Hart could be elevated to the starting unit, as he has always had excellent synergy with Jalen Brunson.

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after being ejected from the game during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden
Apr 9, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after being ejected from the game during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hart has always been a Swiss army knife for the Knicks, filling out various roles for the team in the lineup due to his excellent tenacity and rebounding. He’s played as their backup power forward in the past, filling out the position when they lost Mitchell Robinson and still didn’t have a reliable backup at the center position, and it caused some public friction between Hart and the team’s strategy. He’s played better as of late in a role more similar to what he was last season.

Still, the Knicks are going to be hurt by the absence of Julius Randle, but assuming that the reports of minimal damage ring true in an MRI, they could have the prolific scorer back in a few weeks. The Knicks won’t play anybody in the top four of the Eastern Conference until February 22nd when they take a trip to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers, so at least their schedule has lightened up a bit for the near future.