Mitchell Robinson is injured again after breaking his thumb in Wednesday’s loss to the Wizards. Stefan Bondy of the Daily News added Robinson had surgery on the thumb and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Mitchell Robinson underwent surgery to repair a fractured thumb. Knicks say he’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) January 19, 2023
Robinson suffered the injury in the Knicks’ 116-105 loss to the visiting Washington Wizards. He managed just nine minutes before exiting. New York got out-rebounded 52-49 without its best rim protector.
This has unfortunately become par for the course with Robinson, who signed a $60 million extension in the offseason. His career-best 72 games last year is the closest he’s come to playing a full season. In 2020-21, coach Tom Thibodeau’s first season with the Knicks, Robinson was limited to 31 games with a broken hand and then a broken foot.
To add insult to this latest injury, the young seven-footer was averaging a career-best 8.9 rebounds per game this year.
The Knicks already need bench scoring, but adding a big man might be the new priority. Isaiah Hartenstein can start in the meantime, but his defense is leagues behind Robinson’s. Jericho Sims is a better defender with a high ceiling, but he also fouled out in 21 minutes last night. Nor does he get many minutes in the first place.
Unfortunately for Leon Rose and Scott Perry, the trade market for centers is thin. Bulls big Nikola Vucevic can score and rebound, but isn’t a plus defender. Pacers center Myles Turner can do it all, but Indiana doesn’t seem interested in moving him.
There is always the possibility that this motivates Thibodeau to use a smaller lineup. Julius Randle is only 6-foot-8, but he’s already a strong rebounder and probably can handle playing center. In turn, this gives fan favorite Obi Toppin a chance for some starter’s minutes at power forward.
Shuffling the lineup could indeed blow up in the Knicks’ face. But with Robinson injured again and a thin trade market, do they really have a choice?