Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson expected to miss four-to-six weeks with fractured hand, per report

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The New York Knicks are off to their best start in years, and Mitchell Robinson is at both the literal and figurative center of that success. The third-year big man is the anchor of New York’s No. 5 ranked defense, and his athleticism has turned him into one of the NBA‘s best lob threats. Unfortunately, the Knicks will be without Robinson for some time.

The Knicks announced Friday night that Robinson fractured his right hand during the win over the Wizards, and after further evaluation Saturday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that he’ll need surgery and will be out at four-to-six weeks

Fortunately for the Knicks, they have a fair bit of depth on their front line. Julius Randle has thrived as the team’s power forward. No. 8 overall pick Obi Toppin had struggled to find minutes, so a silver lining of Robinson’s absence could be more playing time for him. Nerlens Noel was signed during the offseason and should now be expected to step in as the starting center. Taj Gibson, a longtime Tom Thibodeau favorite, will likely see more minutes as well. 

But Robinson is New York’s best defender, and the team has a difficult decision to make on his contract status this offseason. They have a team option on Robinson worth only $1.8 million. Should they pick up that option, Robinson would become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. If, however, they decline it, he would be restricted this offseason, and they could match any offer he received. Ideally, the Knicks would like to lock Robinson into a new contract as quickly as possible, and Robinson, a former lottery-level prospect who tumbled in the draft, would probably appreciate that security. 

Health concerns often interfere with such negotiations, and a winning season would no doubt help Robinson secure his payday. For both his sake and his team’s, hopefully, this injury won’t linger past the four weeks he’ll be out. 

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