NBA playoffs: Julius Randle out for Knicks-Heat Game 1 with sprained left ankle
Sunday's matchup with the Miami Heat marks a milestone for the New York Knicks, which will enter the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time in a decade. Forward Julius Randle will miss the first game of the series, the team announced shortly before tipoff.
Josh Hart and Obi Toppin are in the starting lineup. Quentin Grimes, who started Games 4 and 5 of their first-round series due to a right shoulder injury is available to play.
Randle's absence is due to an ankle sprain he sustained on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Knicks' first-round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The news comes after Randle was seen working out on Sunday morning with a brace on his left ankle.
Julius Randle working out pregame with a brace on his injured left ankle. He is still listed as questionable for today’s game against the Heat. pic.twitter.com/gSfqRo1IJy
— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) April 30, 2023
The Knicks closed out the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-95 on Wednesday. With less than 90 seconds remaining in the first half, Randle rose up to contest Caris LeVert's jump shot near the free-throw line. As he came back down, Randle landed on the opponent's foot and rolled his left ankle. After attempting to get up, he remained on the court and was eventually sent to the locker room.
The two-time All-Star first sprained his left ankle in March. He missed the final five games of the regular season but returned in time for Game 1 of their series against the Cavaliers.
Julius Randle heads to the locker room after re-injuring his ankle pic.twitter.com/2NhlqAWLOM
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 27, 2023
Randle averaged 14.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists through five games in the 2023 playoffs. There is no reported timeline for his return.