NBA

Knicks powerhouse Randle to have ankle injury re-evaluated in two weeks

By Sports Desk March 30, 2023

The New York Knicks will be without Julius Randle for the rest of the regular season as he races to heal from an ankle injury before the playoffs.

The All-Star was hurt in Wednesday's 101-92 win over the Miami Heat, after his left leg landed on Heat center Bam Adebayo's left foot as he pulled down a rebound with 2:40 remaining in the second quarter. He was ruled out at half-time.

Randle, who leads the Knicks in both scoring (25.1 points per game) and rebounding (10.0), has played all 77 games this season, but will miss the final five after the team announced he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

The timeframe means he would be unavailable for the play-in tournament, but crucially the Knicks (44-33) sit four games clear of the seventh seed Miami Heat (40-37).

Two weeks from now would be just two days before the first round of the playoffs are due to begin, and it appears likely the Knicks would begin their playoff run on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference's four-five matchup.

It has been a great bounceback season from Randle, who was named to the All-NBA Second Team back in 2021, before his points dropped from 24.1 to 20.1 with all his percentages falling off a cliff in 2022.

The introduction of point guard Jalen Brunson has breathed new life into New York, and has made Randle's job far easier. 

With his new partner-in-crime, Randle has set career-highs in scoring, free throw makes and attempts, three-point makes and attempts, and his 46.0 per cent mark from the field matches his best percentage since arriving with the Knicks, all on career-high volume.

Related items

  • Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica: Wasteful Selecao frustrated in Copa America opener Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica: Wasteful Selecao frustrated in Copa America opener

    Brazil began their Copa America campaign with a frustrating goalless draw against Costa Rica at the SoFi Stadium.

    The Selecao dominated large periods of the Group D clash. Marquinhos saw a goal ruled out following a VAR review, while Lucas Paqueta rattled the woodwork from distance.

    Yet despite enjoying just under three-quarters of the possession and registering 19 shots to their opponents' two, they could not find the breakthrough and failed to win their opening match in the competition for the first time since 2016.

    Dorival Junior's side subsequently lost early ground on Group D leaders Colombia, who beat Paraguay 2-1 earlier in the day.

    Brazil quickly asserted their authority on proceedings in California as they sought the game's opening goal.

    Rodrygo steered a shot wide following a jinking run into the penalty area, while Raphinha was denied by Patrick Sequeira after latching onto a diagonal ball over the top of the Costa Rica defence.

    The Selecao thought they had broken the deadlock on the half-hour mark when Marquinhos applied the finishing touch after Rodrygo glanced Raphinha's free-kick towards the far post, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside following a VAR review. 

    Rodrygo fired narrowly over in first-half stoppage time and, then on 63 minutes, Lucas Paqueta saw his ferocious 25-yard drive crash against Sequeira's left upright.

    Dorival withdrew the quiet Vinicius Junior in favour of Endrick and Savinho for the final 20 minutes, and both looked dangerous upon their introductions.

    The latter's cross almost saw Costa Rica defender Haxzel Quiros head into his own net with his blushes spared by Sequeira, who then beat away Guilherme Arana's fierce volley.

    Savinho was involved again in stoppage time as he teed up one final opportunity for Bruno Guimaraes, who bent his first-time shot narrowly wide to compound a frustrating start to the tournament for the nine-time winners.

    Selecao stutter on return to States

    It is fair to say Brazil do not boost particularly fond recent memories of playing in the United States in recent years.

    After all, the Selecao crashed out in the group stages when the Copa America was last held in this nation eight years ago.

    Neymar, who was part of that side, watched on from the stands having been ruled out of this tournament through injury.

    Try as they may, his team-mates just could not break down their opponents and turn their dominance into the elusive goal, with just three of their 19 attempts on target.

    Fresh from playing a starring role in Real Madrid’s LaLiga and Champions League double, Vinicius Junior was unable to inspire his nation – his tallies of 45 touches and 23 passes were the lowest recorded by any of Brazil’s outfield starters.

    On a brighter note, Marquinhos made his 16th Copa America appearance – with only Dani Alves (19) and Thiago Silva (18) playing more times for the Selecao in the competition since 2000 – though a VAR review prevented him from marking the occasion with a goal.

    Another clean sheet for repellent Costa Rica

    Costa Rica were heavy underdogs on their return to the Copa America for the first time in eight years.

    Not since 2004 have Los Ticos progressed from the group stages of this competition, but they certainly know what it takes to claim a scalp on the big stage.

    Exactly 10 years ago, they beat Uruguay and Italy to top Group D, which also featured England, on the way to reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.

    Fast forward a decade and Joel Campbell, who was part of that side, came off the bench for his 140th cap as his nation halted a run of nine successive defeats by Brazil. 

    More impressively, Costa Rica have kept clean sheets in each of their last four competitive games.

    Their failure to record a single shot on target for the first time in a Copa America match since 2011 will be a slight concern, but that defensive stubbornness will stand them in good stead as they look to progress in this tournament.

  • France secure landmark qualification to Euro 2024 knockout stages France secure landmark qualification to Euro 2024 knockout stages

    France's progression to the Euro 2024 knockout stages was confirmed on Monday, without Didier Deschamps' side kicking a ball.

    Les Bleus sit second in Group B - behind the Netherlands having scored a goal less - with four points from their opening two matches, ahead of facing Poland in Dortmund on Tuesday.

    However, the two-time European champions will approach the game safe in the knowledge they are assured of a place in the last 16.

    With Hungary and Croatia finishing third in Group A and Group B with three and two points respectively, even a defeat against Poland would see France advance as one of the four best third-placed teams.

    Deschamps' side are the only European nation to qualify from the group stage of all seven major international tournaments (World Cup and European Championship) since 2012.

  • Raptors star Barnes to sign maximum rookie extension Raptors star Barnes to sign maximum rookie extension

    Scottie Barnes has emerged as a legitimate star for the Toronto Raptors.

    The Raptors are rewarding him with the richest contract in franchise history.

    Barnes plans to sign a five-year maximum rookie extension that could be worth up to $270million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    The deal, which was reported Monday, can't officially be signed until July 6, when the NBA's moratorium period on free agents ends.

     

    The fourth overall pick of the 2021 draft by the Raptors, Barnes took home Rooke of the Year honours in his first year in the league and is coming off his best year as a pro.

    The 22-year-old wing was named to his first All-Star team after averaging 19.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.47 blocks.

    He made huge improvements with his long-range shooting, making an average of 1.7 3-pointers a game while shooting 34.1 per cent from beyond the arc last season after averaging 0.8 made 3-pointers and 28.1 per cent shooting from the perimeter in 2022-23.

    He played in Toronto's first 60 games before a fractured left middle finger sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

    The injury isn't considered serious, as he likely could've returned if the Raptors were in the play-off conversation.

    Toronto, however, finished with the NBA's sixth-worst record and is in full rebuilding mode with Barnes as the centrepiece of the franchise moving forward.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.