SPORTS Mitchell Robinson injury: Knicks big man needs ankle surgery...

Mitchell Robinson injury: Knicks big man needs ankle surgery as standout season will be paused for 8-10 weeks

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The New York Knicks announced that center Mitchell Robinson will miss 8-10 weeks and will undergo ankle surgery. Robinson sustained an ankle injury on Dec. 8 during a game against the Boston Celtics in which he only played 18 minutes. The injury occurred in the first half of that game, and Robinson had X-rays done but Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said they came back negative. Robinson then played a couple minutes of the third quarter, but didn’t play at all in the fourth. 

Thibodeau told reporters after the game that Robinson was “fine,” and the Knicks center also said he thought he would be OK. “It’s nothing crazy, Robinson said. “Think I took a wrong step maybe.” However, the issue clearly didn’t resolve and Robinson will once again miss and extended amount of time. It’s an unfortunate setback for Robinson, who up to this point was having a standout season with the Knicks. he was averaging 6.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks a game. While those are modest counting stats, Robinson’s impact goes beyond the boxscore. 

When Robinson is on the floor the Knicks’ offensive rebounding rate goes up 3.8%, as the former second-round pick is averaging over five offensive boards a game. He’s been unstoppable on the offensive glass, leading the league in that category, and his defensive presence is also essential to New York’s ninth-ranked defense. Robinson’s rim protection helps deter teams from trying to score inside on the Knicks, which is why New York ranks sixth in opponent points in the paint. His offensive rebounding also leads to second-chance opportunities, which the Knicks rank third in league at 16.7 points a game. 

Missing Robinson will leave a significant hole in New York’s starting lineup, but unfortunately the Knicks are no stranger to playing without him. The six-year center has struggled with injuries over the years, and was limited to 58 games last season. With him sidelined for at least two months, the Knicks will have to turn to Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims. 

Both can make an impact, but neither of them will fill Robinson’s shoes adequately. It’s going to take other guys in the starting lineup to step up and cover for Robinson’s absence, especially on defense, if the Knicks don’t want to have a significant drop off without him in the lineup.

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