Knicks center missing time after surgery

ATLANTA — The Knicks treaded water with Mitchell Robinson sidelined for eight video games in November, however they are going to now be with out their beginning center and defensive anchor for an excellent longer prolonged interval of time.

Robinson underwent surgery Thursday on the Hospital for Special Surgery after checks revealed he suffered a fractured proper thumb in Wednesday’s house loss to the Wizards. The 7-foot center can be reevaluated in three weeks, the crew mentioned, however he’s more likely to be out for for much longer, starting with Friday’s highway recreation towards the Hawks.

The Knicks went 4-4 within the eight video games Robinson missed with a sprained knee from Nov. 5-18, with backup center Isaiah Hartenstein beginning six occasions in that stretch and second-year huge man Jericho Sims beginning the opposite two video games. Hartenstein obtained one extra begin within the recreation Robinson got here again to the rotation to play 17 minutes off the bench on Nov. 20 in a highway loss to the Suns.

That duo will doubtless break up time once more in Robinson’s absence, and Tom Thibodeau mentioned Julius Randle also can play some minutes at center. The coach employed a smaller lineup — with RJ Barrett at energy ahead alongside Randle and guards Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes — late in Wednesday’s loss.

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) throughout a recreation towards the Wizards on Jan. 18, 2023.
NBAE through Getty Images

“It’s simply the subsequent man. I like the depth that we’ve got at center,” Thibodeau mentioned after the sport. “We have three guys which might be greater than succesful.”

Robinson, who signed a four-year contract extension price $60 million final summer season, had began the previous 28 video games, averaging 7.9 factors, 10.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocked photographs in 29.4 minutes per look. He additionally boasts the perfect web score amongst Knicks regulars — with the crew outscoring opponents by 8.2 factors per 100 possessions when he’s on the court docket, whereas getting outscored by opposing groups by 1.1 factors per 100 possessions when he’s off the court docket.

“It’s a huge impact,” Brunson mentioned Wednesday evening. “Mitch is a presence down within the paint. Obviously, we wish him to have a speedy, however wholesome, restoration. But we wish him at one hundred pc.”

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) during a game against the Wizards on Jan.  13, 2023.
Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) throughout a recreation towards the Wizards on Jan. 13, 2023.
Getty Images

The 24-year-old Robinson left Wednesday’s recreation within the first quarter and was dominated out for the rest of the sport with what the Knicks initially mentioned was a sprained proper thumb.

“Mitch is absolutely the anchor for our protection. Him going out, it is an adjustment, for positive,” Barrett mentioned. “With all the pieces, the rebounds, blocked photographs, additionally simply the issue individuals do not wish to go within the paint as a lot towards him. You [miss] him big-time, all of the offensive rebounds he will get. He’s an enormous a part of our crew.”

And he can be tough for the Knicks (25-21) to switch if he is out on a long-term foundation, no matter how Thibodeau reconfigures his starters and second-unit frontcourt within the interim.

Robinson, who additionally missed time with a fractured proper hand through the 2020-21 season, ranks second within the NBA with 4.3 offensive rebounds per recreation, behind solely Grizzlies center Steven Adams (5.0), and fifth in blocked photographs with a median of 1.8 per recreation

“You miss who he’s,” Thibodeau mentioned. “I wish to assume and see extra, assume it by means of by way of what’s greatest for each teams, what’s going to make it perform greatest. Both guys have gone forwards and backwards. We’ll get an opportunity to take a look at it deeper and decide.”

Depending on Robinson’s prognosis, the Knicks definitely might be available in the market now for extra assist up entrance forward of the Feb. 9 commerce deadline. One potential goal may contain an try and reacquire longtime Thibodeau favourite Taj Gibson, who’s incomes $2.9 million this season with the Wizards. The 14-year veteran — who additionally performed for Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota — logged 9 minutes for Washington off the bench in Wednesday’s recreation on the Garden.

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