This is a blow to a Knicks team fighting to hang in the East’s play-in game range.
New York will be without starting center Mitchell Robinson for four-to-six weeks after surgery to repair his fractured hand, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Robinson — who was off to a fast start Friday night with 10 points and 14 rebounds in the first half — left the court just before halftime holding his right hand in pain. Robinson injured his hand setting a pick when Wizards guard Garrison Mathews ran into him.
Expect more minutes for Julius Randle and — hopefully for his development — rookie Obi Toppin at the five. Coach Tom Thibodeau also has Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson to lean on for minutes at the five, and Thibs said after Friday’s game he could play more small ball.
Robinson is averaging 8.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game starting at center for the Knicks this season, plus he provides an athletic defensive presence in the paint.
At 12-15 on the season, the Knicks sit as the eighth seed in the East, a position in the middle of the play-in games, but Miami and Atlanta are right behind them and the Knicks are just one game from falling out of any play-in position. The bottom of the bracket in the East is crowded and New York cannot afford a slump with Robinson out.