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Josh Hart Pessimistic That Knicks Will Be Fully Healthy By Playoff Time

The New York Knicks have been talking about being able to make noise in the playoffs once they are fully healthy. While Mitchell Robinson returned last week, the Knicks remain without Julius Randle and OG Anunoby.

And Josh Hart didn’t seem too optimistic that either Randle or Anunoby will return this season following New York’s 113-112 loss to Oklahoma City last night, according to Tim Bontempts of ESPN.

“I’m looking at it like this is the team we’re going to have. I think that’s how we have to approach it, that those guys aren’t coming back and obviously we’ll be pleasantly surprised if they come back.

“I’m not in those medical conversations or anything like that, so I don’t know s— from s—. But we’ve got to approach every game and the end of this season that those guys aren’t coming back, and if they do, be pleasantly surprised.”

Josh Hart Pessimistic That Knicks Will Be Fully Healthy By Playoff Time

Randle has not played since suffering a dislocated shoulder on January 27. A little over a week ago, coach Tom Thibodeau said that Randle was still waiting to take contact and is “trying to strengthen the shoulder area.” Thibs added, “Some days have been better than others. But just keep working at it, and you never know when it turns.”

Thibodeau did talk more about Randle’s rehab process following Sunday’s loss:

“Just keep doing what he’s doing, day-to-day. You never know when it turns. That’s basically the approach we take.

Rehab is really your game, so put everything you have into that. And eventually you’ll get there; you can’t get discouraged; just keep working at it. The other guys, they have a job to do.”

Anunoby has missed 16 of the 19 games since the all-star break due to his elbow flaring up.

“We just deal with reality,” Thibodeau said. “You deal with it day-to-day. When he’s strong enough, he gets out there.”

Meanwhile, Robinson sat out the loss to OKC with an ankle injury. Robinson, who played 32 minutes in two appearances since returning, was visibly gimping around during the game Friday night.

There is no word on Robinson’s status for the Knicks’ game against Miami tomorrow, so he should be considered questionable.

The Rest of The Season

New York (44-30) has lost two straight and is 11-8 since the all-star break. Still, the Knicks are in fourth place in a jumbled-up Eastern Conference where two and a half games separate third and sixth place.

Prior to tonight’s games, New York was one-half game behind Cleveland and one game ahead of fifth-place Orlando. However, the Knicks have a tough road the rest of the season, with the fifth-toughest remaining schedule.

Five of New York’s eight remaining games are on the road, with four of them against squads with a .500 or better record. The Knicks are 20-16 on the road this year, but they are just 18-27 against teams with a winning record.

Moreover, New York has lost four straight to Boston (April 11) and is only 1-9 against Milwaukee (April 7) in its last 10 matchups. Conversely, the Knicks are 6-1 in its last seven matchups versus Miami.

Cleveland (45-30) is in Utah on Tuesday, and Orlando (43-31) hosts Portland tonight.

Projected Playoff Seeding

New York’s hopes of reaching the second round for a second successive season look dim unless the Knicks can get healthy. The Knicks project to finish the season between fourth and sixth place in the conference.

Without either Anunoby or Randle in the lineup, the Knicks are not a top 8 team in the East, especially if Joel Embiid is healthy for Philadelphia. The Knicks are 15-13 in games without Randle in the lineup.

 

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