All-Star Julius Randle, who sprained his left ankle before and during a disappointing playoff series, underwent arthroscopic surgery on that same ankle Friday and will return to basketball before training camp.
Randle missed five regular season games and one in the playoffs with ankle sprains. He played through the series pain against Cleveland and Miami, but the 28-year-old’s production was well below his standards.
After the Knicks were eliminated in six games by the Heat, Randle declined to comment on whether he was bothered by ankle injuries.
“No, I’m not one to make excuses,” he said.
Prior to the first ankle sprain, Randle played every game and averaged 25.1 points, 10 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.8 turnovers while shooting 46% overall and 34.3% on 3 points. He earned his second All-Star appearance in three years and a spot on the All-NBA Third Team.
In the playoffs, however, Randle averaged just 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.5 turnovers while shooting 37% overall and 26% on treys.
It was a drastic fall. There were also a few stretches where Randle’s defensive effort was lacking, and he was benched for the entire fourth quarter in a home win over Cleveland.
“A few good times, a few times to learn,” Randle said of his playoff run. “I just have to assess and move forward and see what you can do as an individual to help the team move forward.”
Randle has proven to be quite durable over his nine-year career. This represents his first surgery — at least the first made public — since his rookie season.
Randle has three years and approximately $82 million remaining on his contract. The Knicks, meanwhile, are coming off their first playoff win in a decade with all of their starters under contract.
“For me, when you lose at the end, there’s disappointment, it’s normal,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after the Knicks’ elimination. “But when you step back and look at it in its totality, which we will do, we will look at the things that we did well, the things that we didn’t do as well as we would have liked, we We’re going to come up with a plan to move forward and focus on that so we can improve.
“This is playoff basketball; we are one of the last eight teams. It is not the goal. So there is a lot of work to do, we understand that; But in the end, when it’s all said and done, there will be a team standing. Twenty-nine other teams will fall short. Then, next season, you start from scratch, you are from zero. So that’s what you put in there again. So everyone is going to start from scratch and we have to start all over again and we have to work like crazy all off season to get to the next season. The aspect of disappointment, yeah we would still like to play, that’s why we do it. If you are a competitive person, this is what you want. And we failed and there’s disappointment, but I think you have to look at it to say, ‘OK, we’ve learned a lot, let’s take that as motivation, let’s improve, and that’s what you have to TO DO.’