Julius Randle injury update: Knicks star doesn't rule out surgery, but says shoulder is 'getting better'

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle hasn’t played since Jan. 27 because of a dislocated shoulder, and, in his first public comments since the injury, the All-Star said Wednesday that surgery has not been ruled out.

“I mean, we’ll see,” Randle told reporters, via SNY. “There’s still, like, necessary steps, and it’s a process to everything. I have to weigh out everything, ultimately, and decide from there. But right now I’m just focused on trying to avoid that, obviously, and get back on the court as soon as I can.”

Asked if he’d need surgery eventually, even if he were able to come back and play the rest of the season without it, Randle said, “I’ve heard many different opinions.” 

Randle said that he knew his shoulder was dislocated as soon as it happened. While he’s been sidelined, he has been “diving into the film” with coach Tom Thibodeau, he said, in order to “see how I can get better and apply it when I’m able to really get out there on the court.”

Last week, SNY’s Ian Begley reported that the Knicks were optimistic about Randle’s progress and the chances of him being able to return this season without surgery. 

“Every day I’m getting stronger, I’m getting better,” Randle said. “So just taking it a day at a time, just continuing to try to just stay locked in on what I have to do to continue just to get healthy. Not just physically but mentally as well.”

The Knicks are “taking it step by step” with Randle, Thibodeau told reporters Wednesday, via SNY.

“Right now, he’s preparing to come back to play,” Thibodeau said. “He’s putting a lot into it, he looks good, he’s got a great spirit about him, he’s working out twice a day. So all things are good right now.”

The previous day, Thibodeau told reporters that Randle is “meeting all the markers” and “moving around pretty good,” but hasn’t been cleared to practice yet.

This season, Randle has averaged 24 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 46 games. He was named to his third All-Star team, but was unable to participate because of the injury.

New York lost four straight games and five of six entering the All-Star break, but it was extremely shorthanded during that stretch. The Knicks will still be without its entire starting frontcourt – OG Anunoby, Randle and Mitchell Robinson – when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, but forward Bojan Bogdanovic, center Isaiah Hartenstein and wing Donte DiVincenzo are all expected to return to the lineup.

On the season, New York is 33-22 and fourth in the East, with only a half-game lead on the fifth-place Sixers. The Knicks rank eighth in the NBA in offensive rating, ninth in offensive rating and sixth in net rating. With Jalen Brunson, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Randle and Hartenstein on the court, they have outscored opponents by 16.6 points per 100 possessions, but that lineup has logged only 180 minutes in 10 games.

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