Knicks Injury Update: Mitchell Robinson cleared to practice

The New York Knicks have thrived and managed to get to as high as the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference without Mitchell Robinson. But after losing three of their last four since the All-Star break, the Knicks desperately need help to finish games.

While Robinson could still be weeks away from returning, his recovery progress has been encouraging.

The Knicks’ young center was seen at team practices and pre-game routines doing some light work without a cast in the last few days. New York coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed that Robinson had been cleared for non-contact drills. The next step for him is to go through practice.

“I know he’s been evaluated. He can get [contact], but not game contact yet,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks’ 99-96 loss in Philadelphia.

Robinson has missed the Knicks’ last 14 games. New York won eight during his absence, relying on Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson and sometimes playing Julius Randle as a small-ball center.

The Knicks were also rumored to be shopping for a big man linking them to Cleveland Cavaliers’ Andre Drummond and Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner.

But it was unclear whether those interests came before or after Robinson went down with an injury. Robinson underwent surgery last February 16 to repair a fracture in his right hand.

It seems his hand has been healing well.

“There’s a progression to what he goes through. Everything looks good,” Thibodeau said.

Initially, Robinson was projected to miss four to six weeks. He’s now on the fifth week of recovery.

“He’s done a lot of running on the court—that sort of thing and ball handling with the left hand. And now, the next phase is for him to go through practice. Take contact there, and we all know the intensity of the game is a lot different than practice. That will be the next step, and then once he clears that, he’ll be ready to go,” Thibodeau said.

There’s no definite timetable yet for his return.

Can the Knicks afford more time to wait for him, or will they pull the trigger on a trade to bring in frontcourt help for their playoff push?

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