julius randle knicks
Kelley L Cox | USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks open the playoffs in six days. The only thing that matters between now and Saturday’s series opener in Cleveland?

Julius Randle, of course. Will the All-Star forward be ready for the Cavaliers? It sounds like there is some early optimism. From The Post:

The Knicks won’t know until later this week if they will have Julius Randle for the start of their first-round playoff series against the Cavaliers, but there were hopeful signs concerning their leading scorer at Sunday’s regular-season finale.

Randle’s sprained left ankle no longer required the walking boot he wore last week, and Tom Thibodeau said the All-Star forward has resumed taking shots on the court.

“Just the next step, following the protocol progression. So making good steady progress,” Thibodeau said before the Knicks’ loss to the Pacers at the Garden. “He’s shooting, but no contact or anything like that. But he’s doing well, overall.”.

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Randle was injured against the Heat on March 29. The team said then he would be reevaluated in two weeks. That milestone will be reached Wednesday. So we may be looking at a mid-week witching hour for Randle.

The Knicks are 3-2 without him in the lineup, although they took their foot off the gas down the stretch after wrapping up the 5-seed in the Eastern Conference.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.