Advertisement

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson questionable for Game 4 vs. Sixers

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson questionable for Game 4 vs. Sixers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Knicks may need to roll with a different mix of centers Sunday afternoon for Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Sixers.

New York officially listed Mitchell Robinson as questionable with a sprained left ankle. Robinson missed the Knicks’ practice Saturday and left Wells Fargo Center in a walking boot following the Sixers’ Game 3 victory.

After undergoing surgery on his left ankle in December, Robinson returned in late March. He played well during New York’s home wins in Game 1 and 2, even earning 30 minutes off the bench in the series opener with strong defense on Joel Embiid, seven offensive rebounds and four blocks.

Robinson tried to grit his way through Game 3, but he had a clear limp and wasn’t able to play the second half. With starting center Isaiah Hartenstein in foul trouble, Precious Achiuwa got his first action of the series Thursday night.

Nick Nurse coached Achiuwa for two seasons with the Raptors.

“They’ve certainly got a good replacement in Precious,” the Sixers' head coach said Saturday when asked about Robinson’s potential Game 4 absence. “Precious came in, after not playing at all in the series, and was really good. He brought a fresh set of legs. He’s very athletic. … He’s on the glass. We talked about, ‘When he’s in, here’s what we’re seeing.’

“That’s kind of what you’re doing on these (days) between. You’re kind of refreshing your memories of these guys that hadn’t played in the series yet, making sure everybody’s aware of the coverages and all that stuff. … But Precious played really well for them, I thought, all through the regular season when Robinson was out. So they’ve got a guy there ready to go.”

Other than Robert Covington (out with a long-term left knee injury), Embiid was the only Sixer on the team’s Game 4 injury report. He was questionable with a “left knee injury recovery” listing, which has been the case throughout the series. Embiid has also been dealing with Bell’s palsy this postseason, as he detailed after his 50-point Game 3 performance.

De’Anthony Melton did not appear on the Sixers’ injury report. While Melton suited up for Game 3, Nurse opted against using him and received a much-needed spark from Cameron Payne. Melton’s season has been hampered by a lumbar spine injury.

Nurse said Melton’s back has been “pretty good” the last few days, but he admitted being unsure about whether throwing him into the playoffs is best for the Sixers.

“I really think it’s a day-by-day thing,” Nurse said. “And they’ve kind of got him paired up with our schedule, even though he’s not playing. So they kind of get him on the court when we play and then they rest him the next day, and they work him again on the days we’re working, like today.

“He’s OK. He’s been cleared to play. I mean, I love him, but it seems like such a difficult circumstance. It’s been so long and it’s so intense and whatever. But we’re around there on making the decision on that. Thinking about it, I guess.”

Beyond the injuries and all the schematic factors, flagrant fouls and officiating linger as major subjects going into Game 4.

Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo told reporters Embiid’s Flagrant 1 foul Thursday on Robinson was “dirty.”

Kelly Oubre Jr. disagreed with that view.

“I’ve seen that happen before — and I was on the other end of it,” Oubre said Saturday. “At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s dirty. Jo has to protect himself, like he said. … I’m not going to comment on what they’re commenting on because, at the end of the day, they’re going to hit, and then we’ll hit back, and then they’ll cry — or vice versa, whatever the case may be.

“Let’s just hoop. Let’s go out there and play hard. Nobody’s going to fight. This ain’t WWE. So at the end of the day, stand on the stuff that y’all say. We’ll see tomorrow how they react.”