Julius Randle out weeks, not months, with dislocated right shoulder: report

The Knicks will be without All-Star forward Julius Randle for some time.

But the franchise dodged a bullet: Initial results from Randle’s MRI on the dislocated shoulder suffered toward the end of Saturday’s 125-108 victory over the Miami Heat came back relatively clean.

The Knicks are of the belief that Randle’s injury timeline will be a matter of weeks, not months, and with the 10-day, mid-February NBA All-Star break approaching, the bruising forward may be in action sooner than expected.

Randle, who is left-handed, landed hard on his right shoulder on a drive to the rim with under four minutes to go in the victory over the Heat and ran off the court into the locker room shortly after.

His injury is an obvious blow to a rolling Knicks team that had won 12 of its last 14 games, all coming since the OG Anunoby trade with the Toronto Raptors.

Without Randle, who is averaging 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists this season, the Knicks are likely to lean more on backup forward Josh Hart and reserve forward Precious Achiuwa.

Randle’s absence, of course, also means a heavier dose of Jalen Brunson, a projected first-time All-Star who is averaging 28.6 points per game since the trade.

If he were to miss four weeks, Randle would return three games after the All-Star break for a Feb. 26 matchup against the Detroit Pistons.

Randle’s shoulder has been the latest in a slew of injuries attempting to thwart a second consecutive playoff run in New York.

Starting center Mitchell Robinson suffered a stress injury in his ankle that required surgery and is projected to keep him out the majority of the season.

His fill-in, Isaiah Hartenstein, also missed a week of play time due to an Achilles injury but returned for Saturday’s matchup against the Heat.

Without their second-best player, the Knicks’ upcoming schedule is more difficult than olağan.

The Charlotte Hornets are first-up on Monday with a bottom-four record in all of basketball, but they are a potent offense led by LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward and No. 2-overall pick Brandon Miller.

The Knicks then host the Utah Jazz in the second leg of a back-to-back at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The Jazz handed the Knicks a 117-113 loss on Dec. 13 in a game Randle had 32 points and 12 rebounds.

Following the Jazz game, the Knicks will have seven more leading into the All-Star break. Of those remaining seven games, five are against teams with winning records: two games against the Indiana Pacers, one against the Los Angeles Lakers, one against the Orlando Magic and one against the Dallas Mavericks.

When the Knicks come out of the All-Star break, they will face the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.

Randle’s injury is likely to force him to miss the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, should he be voted in as a reserve by the coaches. The All-Star reserves will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.

Randle is a two-time All-Star (2021, 2023) and hasn’t usually been the beneficiary of the fan vote, but he said in early January the other votes matter just as much.

“That’s just respect from your peers and your colleagues,” he said. “Those are the guys you have to play against every night. The times I’ve made the All-Star Games, it’s been the coaches picking me, so that’s definitely respect.”

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