Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson Moves One Step Closer To Return

Mitchell Robinson, Knicks, NBA
Jan 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) dunks the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been without starting center Mitchell Robinson for a large portion of the 2023-24 NBA regular season. He has missed 49 consecutive games, last making an appearance on the court on December 8th against the Boston Celtics.

After that game, it was revealed that Robinson had to undergo surgery on his ankle. It was a brutal blow for the Knicks, as Robinson had gotten off to an excellent start. He was setting records for his work on the offensive glass while providing the team with stellar production as always defensively.

The Knicks and their fans have been patiently waiting for him to return, and it sounds like he is close. According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Robinson has been upgraded to questionable for tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors. That puts him on the cusp of returning, as Wednesday could be the night.

*UPDATE* Wojnarowski is now reporting Robinson will make his much-anticipated return to the lineup and will be active and available to play tonight against the Raptors*

Isaiah Hartenstein has filled in admirably for Robinson in the starting lineup. He has played better than anyone could have expected, replicating what Robinson was doing well while adding his own wrinkles on the court.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Mitchell Robinson & New York Knicks Updates

It will be interesting to see what Tom Thibodeau does with his rotation once Robinson is back in the mix. It is hard to envision him being inserted back into the starting lineup, especially with how well Hartenstein has integrated himself and the chemistry that has been developed.

Removing Hartenstein at this point could do more harm than good. The starting lineup has a good thing going, as they have adapted to Hartenstein’s more advanced offensive skill set. He is someone the Knicks can throw the ball to in the high post and run the offense through and he is a threat to score from 10-12 feet away. 

Robinson just doesn’t offer that offensively, potentially making him a better fit to come off the bench, at least at the start. But, regardless of the role he plays, his return to the lineup is huge for New York, as they will now have 48 minutes of elite defense, rim protection and rebounding at the center spot.

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