Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson ‘Closest’ Injured Player To Return

Mitchell Robinson, Knicks, NBA
Oct 25, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) warms up prior to the game against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2023-24 NBA regular season quickly approaching the end, the New York Knicks are still patiently waiting for some of their key contributors to return to the court. They have been without their starting frontcourt for a large chunk of the season, which goes to show just how much other players have stepped up in their absence.

New York has been without starting center Mitchell Robinson since early December as he underwent surgery on his ankle. Julius Randle has not played since January 27th when he separated his shoulder against the Miami Heat. OG Anunoby has played in only three games since that Heat matchup as he deals with an elbow issue.

That is a lot of minutes and production the team has been missing, but they are hoping to get them back in the mix sooner rather than later. When they will return is anyone’s guess, but right now, according to head coach Tom Thibodeau, it is Robinson who is the closest to returning.

Prior to the Knicks’ game against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, Thibodeau offered an update on his injured players. Stefan Bondy of the New York Post shared the update, as not much of an update was provided outside of the Robinson news.

Getting Robinson back in the mix would be huge for New York. Their defensive scheme without that archetype of a player in the middle sometimes leads to shaky results. Precious Achiuwa has been incredible stepping into a larger role, but some matchups in the NBA are tough for him as an undersized center.

With Robinson back in the lineup, whether it is in the starting lineup or off the bench, Thibodeau will have 48 minutes of legitimate rim protection with an anchor for the defense and elite rebounding. He and Isaiah Hartenstein are the best center combination in the NBA currently and would make life difficult for any opponent.

It is certainly disappointing to hear Randle has stalled a big in his rehab. No setbacks are good, but he has been in the same position for a few weeks now. Anunoby didn’t look right in the last game before being shut down again, but hopefully, his elbow calms enough to be a factor in the NBA playoffs.

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