Knicks center Mitchell Robinson to have surgery on broken hand, could miss 6 weeks

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Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News
·2 min read
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The anchor of the Knicks’ top-rated defense will be out at least a month.

Mitchell Robinson is undergoing surgery on his broken right hand and the reported recovery timetable is 4-to-6 weeks. The 22-year-old suffered the injury in Friday’s victory in Washington and was evaluated back in New York. A six-week recovery would mean Robinson wouldn’t return until late March and miss around 20 games.

The center has been durable and dependable this season, serving as the rim protector for a defense that entered Saturday ranked No. 1 in points allowed. In his absence, the Knicks can shift the depth chart by starting Nerlens Noel and giving Taj Gibson the backup minutes.

Coach Tom Thibodeau also mentioned moving over Julius Randle or Obi Toppin from power forward.

“We’ll have some flexibility. We can play smaller,” Thibodeau said. “I like what Taj gives us. Obviously the great value and the things that Mitch brought to the team was the defensive component and I feel that Nerlens does many of those things extremely well. And of course Taj, that’s been his strength throughout his career.

“But I also like the way Obi’s coming on. He’s giving us good minutes. So we have that option. We can downsize and can play Kevin (Knox) at the 4. Play Julius at the 5. There’s a number of things we can do.”

Another option is exploring the trade market. JaVale McGee in Cleveland or Robin Lopez in Washington are possible stopgap alternatives. But Thibodeau seemed content with the in-house choices.

“That’s the job (of the front office). We’re always looking at the opportunities that may be out there. But I like the guys we have,” Thibodeau said. “If there’s something that can make the team better we’d always consider it. But I think we have more than enough in that locker room.”

Robinson started and played all 27 games this season for the Knicks before Saturday’s game against the Rockets. He’s averaging 8.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over 28.8 minutes.