Knicks Center Mitchell Robinson Nears Return: Report

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson against Giannis Antetokounmpo

Getty Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks.

New York Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson is nearing his return to the court for the stretch run.

According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Robinson could be back before the 7-foot center turns 26 on April 1.

“Mitchell Robinson could be back in early March or sometime in March from his ankle surgery,” Bontemps said on the “The Lowe Post” podcast on February 20.

After Robinson’s trainer, Marcell Scott, posted a workout video of his client, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed to reporters after Tuesday’s practice that the center is no longer wearing a walking boot to support his surgically repaired left ankle.

“It’s just a steady progression,” Thibodeau said on February 20 via SNY. “The boot is off and he can shoot, he’s not running and jumping yet, but he can shoot on the court. He’s in the pool, he’s on the bike, and he’s doing all those things. Each week will be another step for him to clear. When he’s ready, he’s ready.”

Robinson has missed the Knicks’ last 34 games after suffering a left ankle injury on December 8 against the Boston Celtics. His chief backup Isaiah Hartenstein‘s solid play cushioned the impact of his loss as the Knicks posted a 21-13 during this stretch.

The Knicks have 27 games left in the regular season and the hope is Robinson gets some games in before the playoffs which starts in mid-April.

Before his injury, Robinson was making a strong case for an All-Defensive Team spot, averaging a career-high 10.3 rebounds along with 6.2 points on 59% shooting, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. He leads the league in offensive rebounding with 5.3 per game.

His impending return coupled with Hartenstein’s growth would ensure a 48-minute rim protection for the Knicks in the playoffs.

3 Injured Knicks Players Return to Lineup

Thibodeau also confirmed that Donte DiVincenzo (sore hamstring), Bojan Bogdanovic (sore left calf), and Isaiah Hartenstein (sore Achilles) will return to the lineup on Thursday when they face the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers on the road.

All 3 players were full participants during their February 20 practice, Thibodeau told reporters, per Newsday’s Steve Popper. They all sat out the Knicks’ final game before the All-Star break — a 118-100 loss to the Orlando Magic, surrendering the regular season tie-breaker to the young, upstart Florida squad.

Kenny Smith Predicts Knicks-Celtics East Finals

A healthy Knicks roster led by All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson is a cinch to make the Eastern Conference Finals, according to “Inside the NBA” on TNT analyst Kenny Smith.

The two-time NBA champion-turned-analyst installed Brunson as a top-5 MVP candidate this season which is why he believes the Knicks will reach the Eastern Conference Finals opposite the current league’s best team, Boston Celtics.

“At the beginning of the year, I made a comment,” Smith said on the “Stephen A. Smith Show” on February 20. “I said I don’t know if the Knicks could win the Eastern Conference or be in it because they always walk on the floor having the second-best player right. … but Brunson has narrowed the gap.”

The Knicks fell short last season, losing to eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the second round in six games. But the Knicks made some changes with the mid-season trades of OG Anonuby, Alec Burks and Bogdanovic plus DiVincenzo, their top free agent signing, giving them a more versatile and deeper roster to contend.


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