This year looked as though it was going to be different for Mitchell Robinson.
The continuously developing center continued his ascent as one of the most dominant big men in the NBA, leading the NBA with 112 offensive boards in just 21 games before suffering an ankle injury during the Knicks’ Dec. 8 loss to the Boston Celtics.
Three days later, the team announced that he would need to undergo surgery — which he did last week — to repair the area and then would be reevaluated in eight to 10 weeks.
It doesn’t look like the Knicks needed that long to comprehend the scope of the injury.
NBA insider Shams Charania reported that the Knicks applied for a Disabled Player Exception worth $7.8 million upon the projection that Robinson will miss the rest of the 2023-24 season.
Robinson’s inability to stay healthy has repeatedly kept him out of the Knicks lineup since his arrival to the pros in 2018. He’s missed 10 or more games in five of his six seasons and 20 or more three times.
Now with over two-thirds of the season remaining, the Knicks will have to mend their center position on the fly. Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims will see a bump in play, but the latter suffered a sprained right ankle that will keep him out for at least a week. It forced the Knicks to give minutes to 38-year-old veteran Taj Gibson.