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The New York Knicks announced that Julius Randle will have season-ending shoulder surgery, closing the door on a potential return for a playoff run. Randle has been sidelined since January with a dislocated shoulder, and while there was some hope that he could make a return at the end of the season or in the playoffs, earlier this week Shams Charania reported that he hadn't been cleared for anything more than controlled contract drills. Randle sought the advice of two specialists who told him he could cause permanent damage to his shoulder if he tried to play again, making surgery inevitable, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

This is a massive blow for the Knicks, who sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with just a week and a half left of the regular season. Randle was the second leading scorer for New York, averaging 24 points, 9.2 rebounds and five assists on an efficient 47.2% from the field. With Randle on the floor this season, the Knicks offense scores seven points more than when he sits, which ranks in the 94th percentile in the league. Without him, more will be asked of Jalen Brunson, who is already turning in monster offensive performances to try and win games for the Knicks. 

Randle's news comes after Knicks forward Josh Hart said he'd be "pleasantly surprised" if the team got back both of their injured players, which also includes OG Anunoby. Hart said it in the sense that the team is only focusing on the players they have at their disposal instead of thinking about the possibility of Randle and Anunoby coming back in time for the playoffs. Now, Randle's return isn't happening, and there haven't been any official updates on Anunoby's status. Anunoby has been dealing with an elbow injury, and it's more about when the inflammation goes down to make him comfortable to play.

Anunoby could still make a return, but the news of Randle certainly dampens things. While the Knicks have grown accustomed to playing without Randle for two months, the results haven't been great, mustering up just a 15-14 record in his absence. The scoring, size and playmaking are all things the Knicks will miss without Randle in the playoffs, and they'll need to find some combination of that through the players they have now. Donte DiVincenzo has been on a tear recently, including a 40-point game against the Pistons. Isaiah Hartenstein, and the return of Mitchell Robinson give the Knicks a solid rotation up front to contend with most matchups, and while Bojan Bogdanovic hasn't exactly been lighting it up since being traded to New York at the deadline, he's certainly capable of providing that scoring and playmaking off the bench for the Knicks. 

But even with all that depth, not having Randle changes the Knicks' postseason outlook significantly. On the bright side, when Randle returns healthy next season, and if the team is able to re-sign Anunoby in the offseason, New York will be one of the top contenders in the East a year from now. 

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