The New York Knicks have had a wildly successful 2022-23 campaign. After missing the playoffs last season despite a strong Bing Bong fueled start, the Knicks have managed to surpass the expectations of many fans and pundits alike, as they need only one more win to clinch a playoff berth. However, an inopportune injury to Julius Randle threatens to put a damper to what has been such a strong season.
Earlier today, the Knicks announced that Randle will be out for a minimum of two weeks due to the ankle injury he suffered during their Wednesday night win against the Miami Heat. In fact, there are no guarantees that Randle would even be back at the end of the two-week timeline, since the team will just be re-evaluating his status by then.
As a result, this puts Julius Randle in grave danger of missing the Knicks’ first few postseason games, which, if the season ended today, would be road games against the Donovan Mitchell-led Cleveland Cavaliers. Thus, it’s no surprise that some fans are already sounding the alarm bells, especially with Jalen Brunson also dealing with some injury problems of his own.
#Knicks we got a problem. Randle got run over by a reindeer. Fck me life. We ain’t sniffing chit in d playoffs without him. D best PF in d league is out. We stuck with RJ Brick City Barrett. Don’t get worse then that.
— Poetic Bunny (@poetic_bunny1) March 31, 2023
@RyanFieldABC Of course Randle is out for the season. Why should anything go right for the Knicks? We’ve only been waiting since 1973.
— Real Legend 2 (@Real_Legend2) March 31, 2023
Meanwhile, some Knicks fans are trying to remain ardent in their belief that their team could weather the storm with Julius Randle’s playoff status up in the air. In fact, some believe that Randle’s absence could put the Patrick Ewing theory (team plays better without their best player) to test.
The Randle injury gives me flashbacks to the 97/98 season, where Ewing was out for almost the whole year and the #Knicks developed the “next men up”-mentality during the course of the season – even beat the Heat without the Big Fella. This gives me goosebumps. Let’s go @nyknicks
— Marcus (@Knickerbocker84) March 31, 2023
From the team that brought us the Ewing Theory …#JustSaying https://t.co/KTByRldhuD
— Des Bieler (@DesBieler) March 30, 2023
Meanwhile, some fans bristled at the suggestion that the Knicks would perform better without the services of their All-Star forward, a player who averaged 25.1 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 77 games this season. (He has not missed a game yet this season — a truly unfortunate break for the Knicks to have him suffer an injury at this point in the season.)
No way niggas out here saying the Knicks are gonna be better without randle
— Kenny (@Kennyduhballern) March 31, 2023
We aren’t better off without Randle. That’s blasphemy, but I expect The Brooklyn Born Obi Toppin to step up. pic.twitter.com/nlvd6zOvlh
— Brownsville (@BrownsvilleNYK) March 30, 2023
At the end of the day, Randle’s injury will definitely be a character-building moment for some of the Knicks’ unheralded players. Obi Toppin, in particular, appears to be in line for a bigger role amid Randle’s absence. But with a tough matchup against the supersized Cavs looking more and more likely, the Knicks will need their All-Star back as soon as possible.
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