Julius Randle
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were dealt a devastating blow courtesy of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Star power forward Julius Randle, in the midst of another great season, will have surgery on his dislocated right shoulder. He will not return this season.

Randle has been rehabbing and doing drills, but was not yet cleared for contact. Now we know why. Per Woj, Randle’s shoulder was still so unstable that three different doctors, including the Knicks’, recommended surgery. He suffered the initial injury in the Knicks’ win over the rival Miami Heat on Jan. 27. It didn’t help that it happened, essentially, in garbage time and Randle could have been on the bench, but anyway.

Julius Randle finishes the season with 24 points, 9.2 rebounds, and five assists per game. He made his second All-Star team as well, though he didn’t play. His shoulder will be re-evaluated in five months, putting him in line to be ready for the start of the regular season.

The road to the postseason just got a lot harder for the Knicks. Jalen Brunson can only do so much by himself, especially with OG Anunoby’s ongoing elbow problems. Mitchell Robinson is slowly working his way back from ankle surgery too. How much can Josh Hart actually stuff the stat sheet?

This likely means that even more will be asked of Precious Achiuwa, who has been a durable and effective interior defender since coming over from Toronto with Anunoby. Bojan Bogdanovic will also need to up his scoring while Alec Burks keeps looking for his efficiency.

No disrespect to the Knicks’ depth, but it’s near-impossible to replace Julius Randle. New York has yo-yoed up and down the standings since losing him, going 15-14 since that fateful win over Miami. Seven regular season games remain, with all but one against current playoff teams.

The Knicks currently rank fifth, but are only 2.5 games behind No. 2 seed Milwaukee. Who knows? Maybe officially knowing Julius Randle isn’t coming back will light a fire under the Knicks just in time for the playoffs.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.