Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson is out at least a week with a sprained knee sustained in Friday night’s victory over the Sixers.
The sprain was “mild,” according to Tom Thibodeau, and he’ll be reevaluated in 7 to 10 days.
Robinson, who signed a $60 million contract in the summer, had started every game before Saturday while averaging 6.5 points and 6.4 rebounds with 2.3 blocks.
The 24-year-old has proven injury-prone and missed 51 games the last two seasons (most of them because of a fractured foot). He was scoreless in 12 minutes Friday with three fouls.
Isaiah Hartenstein was expected to start at center Saturday against the Celtics.
“He’s done everything that we were hopeful of, and we obviously studied him quite a bit,” Thibodeau said of Hartenstein, who was signed on a two-year deal in the offseason. “The rim protection obviously has been very, very good. Pick-and-roll defense, very good. And then offensively, just to pull people away from the basket, play-make, very good passer. Good in the paint. And so I think as he gets more comfortable, you’ll see more and more from him.”
Robinson’s also injury sets up more opportunities for an Obi Toppin-Julius Randle frontcourt, a pairing that boosted the Knicks to victory on Friday.
Thibodeau has been resistant to the lineup but may not have a choice with Robinson out.
“The big concern is the defense and rebounding,” Thibodeau said. “But I thought they did a good job with that, so it was good, very good [in Philadelphia].”
Obi Toppin and Knicks assistant Rick Brunson got into a heated argument in the fourth quarter of Friday’s win in Philadelphia.
My understanding is the contention started with Toppin’s body language and attitude, and it created a tense exchange. Still, the two smoothed it over after the game, according to sources, and they have a previous relationship to fall back on in hard times.
“Just normal NBA stuff,” Thibodeau said. “Heat of the battle.”
Brunson trained Toppin during the power forward’s pre-draft process in 2020.
Also noteworthy: after the argument, Toppin turned up the intensity and carried the Knicks to a win.
GRIMES OUT AGAIN
Quentin Grimes was ruled out Saturday because of a sore left foot, one day after his first start of the season.
Grimes had missed the first six games of the season with the same ailment.
“He has a little soreness,” Thibodeau said. “So we’ll so how he is [Sunday].”