HOUSTON — Julius Randle is champing at the bit to get back.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said he met with the power forward — who is recovering from a dislocated shoulder — and they mapped out a plan for the All-Star break, with a clear positive vibe about the progress.
“He was in my office the day before we left [for Houston]; we had a great visit, went through some stuff,” the Knicks coach said before Monday’s 105-103 loss to the Rockets. “We’re already processing what the next things are. He’s doing very well overall. And the thing that’s unfortunate; he was playing at such a high level when he took on the injury. And I said it at the time, the one great thing about him is he’s in great shape.
“So, I think that makes it — not easier; it’s never easy to come back, but because of the fact that he’s in great shape, I think coming back happens faster because of that.”
Randle suffered a dislocated shoulder last month and is intent on avoiding season-ending surgery.
On Feb. 2, the Knicks said Randle would be reevaluated in two to three weeks.
The Knicks face the Magic on Valentine’s Day, then don’t play again until Feb. 22 because of the All-Star break.
“It’s going to be constant evaluation. He’s doing well. Progressing. Meeting all the milestones,” Thibodeau said. “So when he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. But that’s another benefit of that break coming. … Julius doesn’t sit out with soreness. If he can play, he’s going to play.”
Isaiah Hartenstein missed his second straight game with Achilles soreness. Jericho Sims, who returned from an illness, started in his spot and tallied four points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes.