The New York Knicks suffered a huge blow after learning about the severity of Julius Randle's ankle injury. It was reported on Thursday that the two-time All-Star is going to be sidelined for at least two weeks after being diagnosed with a sprained left ankle. At this point, the Knicks have no other choice but to plan ahead without Randle in the mix.
There is a bit of a silver lining here for Knicks fans. According to team insider Ian Begley of SNY, New York actually already has a contingency plan in place, which centers around Obi Toppin and Josh Hart:
Tom Thibodeau said late Wednesday that NYK has a lot of confidence in Obi Toppin & Josh Hart at PF. They’ll need to explore both of those options in the final 5 regular games – & maybe the 1st round of the playoffs – in the wake of Julius Randle’s injury: pic.twitter.com/yqz9mOP8Xf
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 31, 2023
As Begley indicated in his report, Randle is now expected to be out for the remainder of the season for the Knicks. It's also possible that his absence extends to the first round of the playoffs, considering how his re-evaluation is set two weeks from today. There is no guarantee that the 28-year-old will be ready to play after two weeks, and it's very much possible that he needs more time to heal.
With the playoffs scheduled to start on April 15, Randle and the Knicks have a very tight timetable on their hands. As such, the team will have to turn to Obi Toppin and Josh Hart as potential makeshift options at the four spot.
Toppin has averaged just 14.0 minutes per game this season as the backup power forward, and he now appears to be in line for a significantly increased role in the wake of Randle's injury. Hart, on the other hand, stands at 6-foot-5 and has been playing the shooting guard position for the Knicks since his mid-season move to New York. Neither of these two players will be able to replicate what Julius Randle brings to the table, but at this point, the Knicks have no other choice.