All-Star forward Julius Randle became the 10th Knicks player to be affected by COVID-19 this season and will miss his first game on Friday.

New York Knicks power forward Julius Randle has entered into the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will miss tomorrow’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, per the team.

The Knicks are facing the Thunder in OKC on New Year’s Eve tomorrow as part of their four-game road trip. The team is currently riding a three-game winning streak dating back to beating the Atlanta Hawks on Christmas Day at Madison Square Garden.

Nearly everyone on the Knicks’ roster has been affected by COVID-19; Randle joins Nerlens Noel, Jericho Sims, and Wayne Selden Jr. in health and safety protocols. At one point New York had Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Miles McBride, Kevin Knox, and Obi Toppin in protocols together, justifying signing multiple players such as Damyean Dotson, Matt Mooney, and Tyler Hall to 10-day hardship exception contracts.

Randle, a source of criticism due to the team’s overall play this season, has appeared in every game thus far—all 35. An All-Star last year along with the Most Improved Player and All-NBA Second Team selection, Randle’s numbers have regressed in 2021–22, averaging 19.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 35.3 minutes per game. Randle joined the starting unit sidelined for the entire fourth quarter last night in Detroit as the bench players led a comeback to beat the Pistons. Randle shot 2-for-11 from the field for five points along with 10 rebounds, five assists, and three turnovers.

The 2021–22 NBA season has been plagued with virtually every team impacted by COVID-19, as the coronavirus spike around the holidays caused games canceled and postponed. In the NHL, games were suspended as the league paused the season. New and old faces have played in the NBA this month with hardship exception contracts handed out to players like Isaiah Thomas and Greg Monroe.

The entire Knicks roster entering the season was vaccinated, although it is unclear how many were “boosted.” Despite vaccination status, players can still test positive. The NBA, according to new, controversial CDC guidelines, recently announced a shortened quarantine period for positive players to return after five days, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.


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