April 16, 2024

Mitchell Robinson closing in on return for banged-up Knicks

NEW YORK — Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau gave his newest spherical of updates on his injured beginning frontcourt — forwards Julius Randle and OG Anunoby and middle Mitchell Robinson — earlier than Monday night time’s 124-99 victory at Madison Square Garden over the Detroit Pistons, and insinuated Robinson, who has been out since Dec. 8 following ankle surgical procedure, would be the first of the trio to return.

“Mitchell is moving quite well,” Thibodeau stated throughout his pregame media session. “He’s cleared for contact and all that. He’s going through practices and so just needs a little more time. But he’s doing really well overall.”

When a reporter adopted up by asking if that meant Robinson would return forward of Anunoby and Randle — each of whom had extra blended updates from Thibodeau — the coach smiled and stated, “Assuming your assumption is correct, yes.”

Robinson hasn’t performed since a loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 8. New York ultimately filed for a disabled participant exception, which the NBA grants if a participant is unlikely to return this season, however when the procedural transfer was denied by the NBA in early January, it opened up the chance that Robinson, arguably the league’s greatest offensive rebounder, may come again sooner or later this season.

Now, it seems that return is imminent, and he’ll once more type a potent 48-minute pairing on the pivot for the Knicks with Isaiah Hartenstein, who has been stellar in Robinson’s place as a starter, averaging 8.2 factors and 9.9 rebounds whereas taking pictures 65% from the sphere.

Anunoby, in the meantime, participated in elements of shootaround Monday however missed his fourth consecutive recreation after his proper (taking pictures) elbow flared up once more after he performed in three video games following a six-week layoff for a process to take away a unfastened physique from it.

Asked what kind of timeline there could be for the ahead’s return, Thibodeau declined to provide a selected reply, saying that the elbow has to “settle down.” The Knicks received 15 of their 17 video games in which Anunoby performed since being acquired from the Toronto Raptors initially of 2024.

Most of the dialogue, nevertheless, was reserved for Randle, the All-Star ahead who has been out with a shoulder harm since taking an ungainly fall towards the Miami Heat on Jan. 27. Randle, who has usually been understanding arduous earlier than video games, continues to be in the “controlled contact” portion of his rehabilitation course of and has but to advance to completely taking part in stay contact drills.

“He’s feeling better, so that’s a good sign,” Thibodeau stated. “He’s ramped it up some. We’ll see where it goes.”

Asked whether or not he may envision a state of affairs in which Randle would not return in any respect, Thibodeau stated there is a steadiness between doing the suitable factor for each the participant and the group that needs to be managed.

“It’s both ways,” he stated. “It’s what helps the team, and you don’t want to put a player in harm’s way, either. So it’s like, ‘OK, let’s just take it day by day.’ You guys know I don’t do hypotheticals. So we’re hopeful.”

New York’s victory over Detroit meant the Knicks (43-28) stored tempo with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who received at house towards the Charlotte Hornets to stay a half-game forward of the Knicks for third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Knicks’ blowout victory was led by Donte DiVincenzo‘s career-high 40 factors, together with setting a franchise report with 11 made 3-pointers.

In a twist, DiVincenzo was being guarded by Evan Fournier, who New York had despatched to Detroit previous to final month’s commerce deadline as a part of a deal that introduced Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks again to the Knicks — and who beforehand held the mark, together with J.R. Smith, with 10.

DiVincenzo admitted the gang getting behind him as the sport went alongside to get the report really made it harder to get it.

“Honestly, Jalen [Brunson] was like, ‘Slow down,'” DiVincenzo stated with fun. “That emotion where you get a sliver of space, and you’ve knocked down nine of them, 10 of them, and you need the last one, and the crowd as soon as you catch the ball, you can hear the crowd. … In that moment, it ramps you up, and Jalen was like, ‘Slow down, take your time and shoot the ball.'”

Speaking of Bogdanovic, Thibodeau stated after the sport that the veteran ahead acquired “nicked up” towards Detroit, although when requested for additional data, he merely stated Bogdanovic had “soreness.”