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Knicks' Randle: 'Naive' to expect full strength following ankle surgery

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

New York Knicks All-Star Julius Randle is struggling mightily this campaign as he works his way back from offseason ankle surgery, and he's the first to admit it.

"I had surgery four-and-a-half months ago, and it's a lower-extremity surgery, so to think that I would come into this season and just be Julius off the bat is kind of naive," Randle told The Athletic's Fred Katz, "I knew from the beginning it was going to be a process."

Randle played through a badly sprained ankle during the Knicks' playoff run to the Eastern Conference semifinals last year, missing only one game and playing 33 minutes a contest. He was coming off a regular season in which he was an All-Star for the second time and averaged a career-best 25.1 points.

The new campaign is a different story for Randle. He's averaging just 16.5 points per game, his lowest average since 2017-18, on 31.6% shooting from the floor. He currently ranks last in effective field goal percentage amongst qualified players.

Despite Randle's cold start, the Knicks sit at 4-4 thanks to a stifling defense and the scoring of Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett.

"I'm just thankful for guys like RJ, guys like Jalen, they've been able to carry the load while I get back and get healthy and start to get better," Randle said.

Randle is coming off his best two-game stretch of the year in which he scored 25 points in both wins against the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.

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