Julius Randle’s shoulder injury timeline coming in ‘a day or two’

NEW YORK — Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau says there is no concrete timeline for All-Star hopeful Julius Randle’s return from a dislocated right shoulder — yet.

Ahead of tipoff against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, Thibodeau said the Knicks are “gathering information” on Randle, who sustained the injury in Saturday’s 125-109 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Knicks’ coach said a timeline could be in stone “probably in a day or two.”

“So just let ’em gather all the information, and then he’s gonna get together with our medical people, as well,” Thibodeau said. “And they’ll come up with a good plan going forward. So it’s the smart way to handle it.”

Randle suffered the injury after Heat rookie Jamie Jaquez Jr. attempted to take charge on his driving layup attempt at the 4:27 mark of the fourth quarter on Saturday, when the Knicks led 115-98.

He landed awkwardly on his right shoulder before two teammates helped him to his feet, then grimaced on his way to the sideline to see Knicks head athletic trainer Dr. Anthony Goenada, who escorted him to the locker room.

Reports from ESPN and The Athletic suggest the Knicks are optimistic about Randle’s timeline, with both outlets reporting the Knicks are expecting their two-time All-Star to return to the court in a matter of weeks, not months.

If Randle were to return in such a short period of time, it would mean any necessary procedure to repair his shoulder would come in the summertime, not during the regular season.

Randle’s injury, however, almost guarantees his absence from 2024 NBA All-Star weekend.

Neither Randle nor Jalen Brunson were voted as All-Star starters, but the Knicks have a case to send not one, but two players to Indianapolis this season.

Randle is one of just four NBA players to average at least 24 points, 9.2 rebounds and five assists per game. The other three are former league MVPs: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver’s Nikola Jokic.

Brunson finished in a virtual tie for the second starting Eastern Conference All-Star backcourt spot, but lost on the fan vote to Bucks guard Damian Lillard. Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton earned the other starting All-Star guard spot.

The Knicks haven’t sent two players to All-Star Weekend in over a decade (2012-13: Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler).

Thibodeau said he’s “hopeful” his team can have two representatives in Indiana — even if Randle can’t go due to his injured shoulder.

It’s up to the coaches, however, not the fans (50%), players (25%) and media (25%) whose vote determines the starters.

Thibodeau was empathetic to the task other coaches have in choosing the reserves.

The coaches must whittle all remaining All-Star hopefuls down to just two guards, three front court, and two wild card (any position) selections.

Among the players competing for Brunson’s guard spot in the East: Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, Atlanta’s Trae Young, Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey, Boston’s Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, and Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball

And Randle’s competition among frontcourt players includes Celtics forwards Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis, the Heat combination of Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, Orlando’s reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, and Brooklyn Nets star Mikal Bridges.

“I’m hopeful. The hard part for the coaches is there’s a lot of guys who are deserving and are having great years and there’s just not enough spots,” Thibodeau said on Tuesday. “When you get down to the end, you try to way it out and it’s what sways the votes. You tend to use that and what’s the impact on winning. It’s not a lot of fun (voting). Lot of guys having great years, a lot of guys who are deserving. I always felt the all-star game was for the fans that’s what makes it exciting.”

Taj returns

With Randle out, the Knicks re-signed forward Taj Gibson to a 10-day contract.

The Knicks waived Gibson on Jan. 7 ahead of his contract guarantee date to create an open roster spot for any potential trades.

“Yeah, he happened to be in the backyard, so we thought, he knows us,” Thibodeau said with a laugh. “No, we just love having him around. I thought the last time he was here, he was instrumental in three wins. so having a guy that knows our players, knows our system and is tough, I think that goes a long way.”

OG still out

OG Anunoby missed both games of the Monday-Tuesday back-to-back with what Thibodeau is calling “some inflammation” the team “wants to calm down.”

Asked if he’s overly concerned about Anunoby’s status, Thibodeau joked: “Oh I’m concerned about everything. He is day-to-day.”