Knicks Provide Key Injury Update Ahead of Crucial Game Against Pacers: Report

julius randle rj barrett

Getty RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier and Julius Randle celebrate together.

The New York Knicks have upgraded RJ Barrett‘s status from questionable to available for Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers on the road.

According to New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy, Barrett is now healthy. On the other hand, Julius Randle, who is nursing a sprained left ankle, did not join the trip.

Barrett missed Sunday’s win over the Washington Wizards with a non-disclosed illness.

The 22-year-old Barrett is expected to return to his starting spot, relegating Immanuel Quickley back to the second unit.

In Barrett’s place, Quickley scored 22 points in 37 minutes in the Knicks’ 118-109 victory over the Wizards that officially clinched them a playoff berth. He was one of the four Knicks players who put up a 20-plus point game. The team improved to 6-2 without Barrett this season.

The Knicks are 40-31 this season with Barrett in the lineup.

Barrett is averaging 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season. He is the team’s third-leading scorer behind Randle (25.1) and Jalen Brunson (24.0).

The Knicks are 6-5 against the Pacers with Barrett in the lineup.

Knicks Jockeys for Playoff Seeding

The Knicks may have already clinched a playoff berth, but their seeding still needs to be locked.

The fourth seed is still mathematically possible for the Knicks.

To finish as the fourth seed and earn homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks (46-33) must sweep their remaining three games and hope the Cleveland Cavaliers (49-30) lose their final three games. The Knicks hold the tie-breaker after winning their head-to-head meetings this season 3-1.

The Cavaliers can clinch the fourth seed with a win over Orlando Magic Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, a win or a Brooklyn Nets loss can clinch the Knicks the fifth seed.

The Nets will host the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night.

RJ Barrett’s First Game Since Heated Argument With Obi Toppin

Barrett’s impending return to the active lineup also marks his first game since his heated argument with teammate Obi Toppin.

Both players quickly patched things up and showed no ill effects of the heat-of-the-moment argument in the Knicks’ 130-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last March 31.

Toppin downplayed the public spat after the game.

“We’re brothers,” Toppin said, “and we’re good. We discussed it.”

Barrett agreed.

“We’re good. We see each other basically every day,” Barrett said. “You tell me that you haven’t had an argument with a family member before. You know what I’m saying? You had an argument with a family member before. That was all it was. Right after the timeout, we squashed it. I think he scored six straight points after that, so something worked.”

New York coach Tom Thibodeau, who pacified them during the heated argument, said they had put that unfortunate incident behind them.

“The cameras are everywhere. It probably happens more than people realize,” Thibodeau said during his postgame interview. “Heat of the moment. It dissipated immediately. If there’s a flare-up, go talk to each other. When they walked out together, I knew they were fine.”

“And just move on. Win the game. When everyone wants to win, sometimes there’s a difference of opinion. Just put the team first, and that’s what they did.”

The incident lit up a fire under Toppin as the Knicks’ third-year forward scored a season-high 21 points in their next game, the playoff-clinching win against the Wizards last Sunday.