Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson has been sidelined since January 18 after undergoing surgery to repair a right thumb fracture, but he’s getting close to a return. He’s officially listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Wizards, the team announced (via Twitter).
As Peter Botte of The New York Post writes, Robinson was a full practice participant on Wednesday, including taking contact, which was one of the final hurdles in his recovery process.
“It’s great to have him back. He’s an important part of the team. We want everyone healthy. We need everyone right now,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
“It does [help] a lot,” Jalen Brunson said of Robinson’s pending return. “It’s good to see him healthy, first and foremost. He brings a lot to the table. He’s been great for us down inside the paint, on both sides of the floor. So when we can get a guy like that back, it definitely helps and I’m very excited to get him back.”
The injury did not affect a lower extremity, so the team’s starting center was able to keep his conditioning up while sidelined. Thibodeau was non-committal when asked if Robinson would be on a minutes restriction, according to Botte.
“We’ll talk to the medical people. Whenever a player comes back you see where they are,” Thibodeau said. “If he can handle minutes, he’ll play. If he needs a break, he’ll get a break. So we’ll talk to him, talk to the medical people, see what everyone thinks. We like the depth that we have at that position.”
Through 38 games, Robinson is averaging 7.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 26.9 minutes per contest. The 24-year-old leads the team in net rating among rotation regulars at plus-8.2, Botte notes.
Jericho Sims, who had started the previous 14 games in place of Robinson, could be out of the rotation upon Robinson’s return, Botte adds. Isaiah Hartenstein is likely to remain the primary backup five.