Forward Julius Randle missed the final five games of the regular season following a left ankle sprain. Unfortunately, he re-sprained the same ankle in Wednesday’s Game 5 against Cleveland, the Knicks announced (via Twitter).
Randle appeared to be in considerable pain after landing on Caris LeVert‘s foot with 1:17 remaining in the first half, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday. A couple trainers assisted Randle when he first got back up, but he was able to limp to the locker room on his own, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Third-year forward Obi Toppin started the second half in Randle’s place. The Knicks currently lead by 12 at the end of the third quarter, and a victory would clinch the first-round series.
Randle earned his second All-Star nod in 2022/23, averaging 25.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 4.1 APG on .459/.343/.757 shooting in 77 games (35.5 MPG). He said he wasn’t feeling the effects of the initial sprain after Game 1, but he averaged just 14.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.0 SPG on .323/.258/.643 shooting through the first four games of the series (31.8 MPG).
According to Popper, Randle returned to the bench in street clothes, so he will be out for at least the rest of Game 5 (Twitter link). The 28-year-old had a productive half, recording 13 points, six assists and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
In other health-related news for the Knicks, guard Quentin Grimes missed his second straight game with a right shoulder contusion (Twitter link via the team). As Katz observes (via Twitter), Grimes was considered a game-time decision, but he didn’t go through pre-game warmups, indicating that he would be ruled out.
Trade deadline addition Josh Hart, who has been terrific for the Knicks since they acquired him from Portland, started his second straight game in place of Grimes.