9:24 P.M. (EASTERN TIME).
New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson suffered a broken right hand in Friday night’s 109-91 victory over the Wizards in Washington.
Robinson dominated the first half with 10 points, 14 rebounds, an assist and two steals, while hitting 5 of 6 from the field in 20 minutes of play. Knicks forward Julius Randle said after the game that Robinson was injured at 3:24 of the second quarter when he tried to block Wizards forward Rui Hachimura’s shot and his hand hit Randle’s elbow.
“Yeah, it was probably the best half of the year for him,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “And obviously we know how important he is to the team. Any time someone gets hurt, it’s obvious that you sympathize.
With Robinson gone, the Knicks will fill the void with Nerlens Noel, who grabbed four points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in 16 minutes Friday, and veteran Taj Gibson, who grabbed six points and three rebounds in 12 minutes.
It is not known how much time Robinson will miss, but Thibodeau said the team will know more after Robinson meets with team doctors Saturday in New York City.
“We feel sorry for him, but we have to prepare for the next game and as you know, the game goes on,” Thibodeau said. “I thought Nerlens replaced him in the second half and that’s a great value when you have a guy like Taj on the team. ”
Robinson, 22, came into Friday’s game averaging 8.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for the Knicks in 29.6 career minutes, establishing himself as the team’s starting midfielder. After starting the preseason at Christmas, Thibodeau made Robinson the starter to start the season and he started all 27 Knicks games en route to a 12-15 record.
The Knicks have an option on Robinson’s contract for next season that they can exercise by keeping his $1.8 million contract, making him an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season, or waiving it, making him a restricted free agent after that season.
In addition to Noel and Gibson, Thibodeau said the team could be downsized. As a possible option, he singled out rookie Obi Toppin, who scored eight points and three rebounds Friday night on the court while hitting four on five.
When asked if he thought the Knicks should do something to fill the void left by Robinson’s injury, Thibodeau replied that he thought the team’s existing talent was enough.
“We will have some flexibility,” Mr. Thibodeau said. “We can play smaller. I like what Taj gives us. Obviously, Mitch’s value to the team is primarily defensive. Nerlens does a lot of those things very well, and certainly Tajh, who has been his strength throughout his career.
“I don’t want to lose this play, but I like the way Obi does it, he gives us good minutes. We can play Kevin [Knox] at four, we can play Julius at five.
“I like the versatility of the team, but every time we lose a player of Mitch’s caliber, we have to keep playing hard. You can’t replace a player like Mitch individually, you have to do it collectively and step up a gear.