Another injury aggravation has landed a key Knicks rotation player back on the bench.

The Knicks ruled former starting center Mitchell Robinson out ahead of tipoff against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday with a sprained left ankle.

It’s the same ankle the rim-protecting big man suffered a stress fracture on in early December, a “wrong step” ultimately requiring surgery sidelining the seven-footer for three-and-a-half months.

Robinson returned to the rotation in Wednesday’s road victory over the Toronto Raptors, playing 12 minutes in a 44-point rout.

He then logged 20 minutes in New York’s overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, including all five minutes of the extra period after Isaiah Hartenstein fouled out.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau said Robinson “tweaked” against the Spurs. Thibodeau said the team will see how the star center’s ankle feels Monday before making any determination about his status for Tuesday’s road matchup against the Miami Heat.

The Knicks’ coach also offered little update on injured stars Julius Randle and OG Anunoby.

Randle has yet to return to action after dislocating his shoulder in a Jan. 27 matchup against the Miami Heat.

He left the rotation at the same time as Anunoby, whose right elbow inflammation surfaced after the victory over Miami.

Thibodeau didn’t provide any concrete signs of progress for the pair of Knicks starters the franchise hopes can return ahead of the team’s playoff push.

“Basically the same,” he said, which means Randle still cannot take contact or participate in scrimmages. “Just keep doing what he’s doing [attacking his rebab], day to day. You never know when it turns. That’s basically the approach we take. Rehab is really your game, so put everything you have into that. And eventually you’ll get there; you can’t get discouraged; just keep working at it. The other guys, they have a job to do.”

There hasn’t been much progress on the Anunoby injury return front, either.

Anunoby underwent right elbow surgery in early February, then returned to play three games — March 17 vs Philadelphia, March 14 at Portland, March 16 at Sacramento — before leaving the team amid a four-game road trip due to a flare-up in his shooting elbow.

“He hasn’t taken any contact since he last played,” Thibodeau said two weeks after Anunoby’s last game.

Sunday’s matchup against the Thunder marked Randle’s 28th straight missed game and the 25th in the last 28 for Anunoby.

The Knicks must be careful managing injuries of key rotation players down the final leg of the regular season.

Anunoby (elbow), Robinson (ankle) and Hartenstein (Achilles) are dealing with recurring issues, and the Knicks will have to protect the bulldozing Randle (shoulder) from himself when he returns to the floor.


The Knicks have a 15-12 record since Anunoby and Randle joined Robinson on the injured list in late January.

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said coaching is part of the reason the Knicks have remained formidable despite their shorthanded status.

“They’re impressive. Their point of attack guys don’t have great size, but they’re relentless on the ball and they’re relentless on the rim,” he said ahead of tipoff at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. “And their schemes are really tight. They’re incredibly well-coached. They don’t beat themselves, so you have to earn everything against them, and that’s what good defenses make you do, and that’s what they make you do. That’s our task tonight.”

Daigneault’s Thunder caught the Knicks one game after Jalen Brunson came a point shy of tying Carmelo Anthony’s franchise-record 62 points.

Brunson scored 61 points in Thursday’s loss to the Spurs.

“Every good team has a guy like that. That’s why they’re good. And he’s certainly a handful,” Daigneault said. “He’s so crafty. He’s got answers for everything. He’s played at this size his entire life and has a solution for literally everything. You can’t cheat against him. You’ve got to be really solid on him. You’ve got to do it as a team. He’s obviously the head of the snake. He’s got total control of the game. Tough shotmaker, gets fouled. Does all the stuff that the great players do. He’s a great player.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *