Knicks center Mitchell Robinson cleared to play, says he’s ready to return

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson
Dec 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) slam dunks the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Robinson could return as early as Sunday when the New York Knicks host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Madison Square Garden.

Robinson, who has missed the New York Knicks’ last 15 games, has been upgraded to questionable.

Tom Thibodeau said the 23-year old center is close to returning.

“[Mitchell] is getting close. He’s been cleared. He’s done more, so we’ll see how he responds to contact,” Thibodeau told reportersThibodeau told reporters after Saturday’s practice. “You know, the conditioning piece is important as well. But he’s been cleared from a physical standpoint.”

Robinson underwent surgery last Feb. 16 to repair a fracture on his right hand, which he sustained against the Washington Wizards last Feb. 12. He was initially diagnosed to miss four to six weeks. This is already his fifth week of recovery.

The Knicks went 9-6 in his absence, with Nerlens Noel admirably filling in his spot in the starting unit. They currently sit at the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference with a .500 record (21-21) entering Sunday’s game.

Robinson tweeted that he’s ready to go shortly after the Knicks announced his upgraded status.

Thibodeau was non-committal if he’ll play Robinson tomorrow. He’s expected to be eased into the rotation and eventually return to his usual starting role.

”I want to see how that [return] goes. There’s great versatility there [at his position]. But eventually, he’ll get back to starting, whether that happens right away or down the road. But I’m reallly comfortable with both guys (Robinson and Noel) in that role and with Taj (Gibson) as well. That gives us great depth in that position,” Thibodeau said.

The Knicks are looking to avenge their 99-96 loss against the 76ers in Philadelphia earlier this week.

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