Report: Knicks’ Julius Randle targeting Game 1 return

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

New York Knicks star forward Julius Randle is reportedly targeting a return to action for Game 1 in their first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski added that Randle is expected to test his ankle pregame to allow the team to make a determination on whether or not he is ready to take the floor.

The Knicks officially listed Randle on the injury report as questionable with a sprained left ankle Friday. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau said on Thursday that Randle had not taken any contact in practice this week.

He initially suffered the injury in the second quarter against the Miami Heat on March 29 when he landed on Bam Adebayo’s foot while grabbing a rebound.

Despite missing the last five games of the regular season, Randle’s 77 games played was the most among All-Stars and was on track to become one of a small handful of players to start every single game this season.

The Knicks need a healthy Julius Randle in the playoffs:

Randle had a career season in 2022-23, averaging 25/10/4 with a great bid for another All-NBA appearance. The Knicks will need him to be available to have a great chance of defeating the Cavaliers.

Having Randle on the court will open up the floor on a greater scale, as it will take off a lot of pressure on star point guard Jalen Brunson. You also add in an elite scoring and rebounding talent that will be key to have against a Cavaliers defense that is among the best in the league.

Despite Obi Toppin playing relatively well when given extra minutes, asking him to provide similar production against Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen is a huge ask.

Randle can also get hot with his aggressive scoring ability from both outside the arc and inside the paint, which will play a huge factor in regards to keeping up with Donovan Mitchell from a scoring standpoint.

As the Knicks prepare for a big playoff series against Cleveland, their fans wait anxiously for word on whether or not their All-Star will be available.

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