With Julius Randle expected to be sidelined for the next several weeks with a sprained left ankle, Tom Thibodeau and the New York Knicks are now tasked with trying to find ways to work around such an unfortunate situation.
Considering the playoffs are just two weeks away, the All-Star’s ailment could not have been sustained at a worse time. That said, when it comes to ways in which the Knicks will try to pick up the slack which is likely to be a result of Randle’s absence, Thibodeau seems to have his plan already in place.
“It’s part of the game. Injuries you deal with it…We just went through it with Jalen [Brunson] so it’s the same. You don’t replace him individually, you have to do it collectively. We understand where we are and what we have to do, but we have more than enough on the bench…Next guy get in there and next guy up, get it done,” Thibodeau said during a media session following New York’s Wednesday win over the Miami Heat.
Prior to going down mid-way through their bout against the Heat, Julius Randle had yet to miss a game all season and was putting forth perhaps the best campaign of his already impressive professional career.
Through 77 games played, the big man posted averages of 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 45.9% shooting from the field.
Immanuel Quickley Dishes on Randle Injury After Knicks Win
Directly following their triumphant win over the Miami Heat, Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley was asked by reporters back in the locker room whether he had been able to speak with Julius Randle following his ankle injury.
The 23-year-old shared that he had met with Randle, and noted that, from what he could tell, the big man was doing well.
“Yea, he was good,” Quickley said when discussing seeing Randle after his injury. “He seemed like he was good. Honestly, I don’t know the severity of it. I know it was bad just by the reaction when they showed the replay but he was in good spirits when I talked to him.”
With Randle having been ruled out for the remainder of their game against Miami, the Knicks relied heavily on Quickley to serve as the club’s go-to offensive option on the night.
Logging 32 minutes, the Sixth Man of the Year candidate went on to lead all scorers with 24 points while shooting 57.1% from the floor and 40.0% from distance.
Tom Thibodeau Praised Jalen Brunson for Knicks Return
Though their game against the Miami Heat served as Julius Randle’s last of the regular season, it also served as Jalen Brunson’s return to the hardwood after a two-game injury-induced absence.
Following the contest, Tom Thibodeau praised his point guard for his efforts, not only on the night but throughout his first season with the Knicks as a whole.
“There’s no show with Jalen,” Thibodeau said. “He’s just pure heart, and the leadership is off the charts. I mean, when you dig into the season that he’s had, when you talk about improving, this guy’s gone; he improved eight points. He’s from 16 points to 24 points. He’s, you know, career-high in assists; he’s shooting more threes and shooting them very efficiently.
When you look at improvement, you’re looking at, okay, why is this guy, why has he gotten so (much) better? It’s the way he approaches the game. It’s how he works. And he’s not talking about it. You walk in the gym, you’ll see it. There’s no messing around with him. There’s no agendas with him. Just pure-hearted. That’s what I love about him.”
In 30 minutes of action, Brunson managed to put up 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 45.5% from the field.