Mitchell Robinson hasn’t fully recovered from his knee injury but the Knicks center said he’s committed to playing through pain.
“I didn’t want to [wait until it was 100 percent]. I can’t do that. I do what I got to do,” Robinson said. “It ain’t broke so just go. A little pain is alright. I can take pain. It ain’t nothing. It ain’t broke so let’s go.”
Robinson missed eight games over two weeks after spraining his knee on Nov. 3 in Philadelphia. The center aggravated the injury in his second game back but returned to the starting lineup four days later in Friday night’s OT loss to the Blazers.
New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson plays against the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Nikki Boertman) (Nikki Boertman/AP)
“I took a funny step [on Monday in OKC]. I’m still trying to let it heal but also be available,” Robinson said. “That’s my goal. Don’t want to miss games, really. That’s not it. Whatever I got to do to get it right. Be able to play still, that’s what I’ll do.”
Interestingly, Robinson said he’s unaware if the injury could worsen by playing.
“Like I said, I’m not going to take a rest,” Robinson said, adding that his ability to jump is most hindered.
Robinson’s commitment to availability is admirable after signing a four-year, $60 million contract, but the 24-year-old is also in an unexpected fight for playing time. Jericho Sims, the second-year backup, has arguably been the Knicks’ best center this month.
The third center, Isaiah Hartenstein, is dealing with Achilles soreness and acknowledged a tough adjustment to his limited role in Tom Thibodeau’s offense.
Robinson’s production is also down as he struggles with a familiar issue of foul trouble. His 3.5 fouls per game is a career-high despite playing the fewest minutes since Robinson’s rookie season.
He fouled out in 23 minutes of Thursday’s loss to the Blazers and was forced to watch overtime from the bench.
“We just took a step back. We didn’t get our hands up,” Robinson said after the Knicks allowed 51 foul shots to Portland. “Especially me. I got to get my hands up. I’ve been out for a little minute. But I’m not going to use that as an excuse.”
BRUNSON MAY MISS NEXT GAME
Jalen Brunson, the Knicks’ most reliable player this season, is listed as questionable for Sunday’s home matchup with the Grizzlies because of a contused quad.
He didn’t participate in Saturday’s practice.
Cam Reddish (sore groin) and Derrick Rose (sore toe) are also questionable.