The New York Knicks will go into their first-round series of the 2023 NBA playoffs as a slight underdog to the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is the 4-5 matchup in the Eastern Conference, with Cleveland having homecourt advantage. Another reason the Knicks are underdogs is the uncertainty surrounding star forward Julius Randle, who is recovering from an ankle injury. Here’s the latest on his status ahead of the first round.
Julius Randle injury updates
April 14 update - According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Randle is targeting a return Saturday for Game 1 against the Cavaliers. He’ll test the ankle pregame and then make a decision in his status.
April 12 update - Randle is still not cleared for contact and was limited in practice Wednesday. Although everything suggests he’s making progress towards a return, he seems likely to at least miss Game 1 of this series.
Julius Randle didn’t practice in full today, did some parts of practice similar to yesterday, Tom Thibodeau said. Randle hasn’t taken contact yet. Seems like he hasn’t been cleared for it yet. Thibodeau again said Randle is making steady progress in return from ankle sprain.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 12, 2023
Randle was set to re-evaluated in two weeks after his initial diagnosis, and we’re coming up on that mark soon. The forward is reportedly targeting a return for Game 1, but the Knicks are going to be cautious with Randle. Ankle injuries can get aggravated easily, and pushing Randle before he’s 100% could be costly. He’ll likely come into Game 1 of this series Saturday with a questionable tag. If Randle doesn’t play, Obi Toppin and R.J. Barrett will have bigger roles in the frontcourt.