Knicks gearing up for life without Mitchell Robinson after injury

mitchell robinson, new york knicks
Oct 30, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro (35) defends New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) in the second quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson suffered a sprained thumb on Wednesday in their 116-105 wire-to-wire loss against the Washington Wizards, adding to what was an all-around awful night for the Knicks.

As of now, head coach Tom Thibodeau said that Robinson will undergo further examination on Thursday, but the prospect of the big man missing some time is already a strong possibility.

If Robinson does need to miss time, it will be the second time he missed games to an injury this season, as he missed eight games due to a knee issue earlier this season.

Robinson has been instrumental in both the Knicks’ strong interior defense and rebounding, as the team leads the NBA in second-chance points. Losing their best interior player is a huge loss for them.

The Knicks now, once again, will likely have to try to fill the massive void that will be left until Robinson returns.

The Knicks’ other centers have to step up in Mitchell Robinson’s absence

When Robinson went down with the injury on Wednesday night, Isaiah Hartenstein slid over to the starting spot, and third-string center Jericho Sims – who had exited the rotation when RJ Barrett returned from his injury – entered the game and provided impactful minutes off of the bench, recording four rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes of action.

Given that Sims had not played in several games prior to Wednesday night, it is unlikely he will be elevated all the way up to the starting lineup should Robinson miss time, but Thibodeau has given no indication thus far of that being ruled out.

Therefore, Hartenstein would likely take over as the starting center, with Sims becoming the new temporary backup.

The Knicks will hope that Hartenstein can provide a good enough impact on both ends of the floor to help make up for Robinson’s absence. They will need him to play at his best level, as they have a stretch of games coming up against many playoff teams and have already lost two straight games.

Hartenstein has started in seven games for the Knicks this season and is averaging 6.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game in those starts.

With Robinson’s injury status still uncertain, the Knicks need to prepare for the possibility of not having their most impactful paint player for an extended period of time. How New York will approach that is to be determined.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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