Knicks' Mitchell Robinson has more hurdles before being cleared to play

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Mitchell Robinson dunk tight shot
Mitchell Robinson dunk tight shot

An update on Mitchell Robinson’s rehab:

The fourth-year center said on Thursday that he’s currently running but not yet sprinting as he continues to rehab from a foot fracture.

"I’m doing like a light jog. It ain’t super light, but it ain’t super fast, either. It’s right in between," Robinson said during his first media appearance.

"I’m feeling great. I did a few things on the court today and I feel good. ... I put a lot of time into my body. I was up here most of the time, I was in New York. I left here probably in late July. Working out with the conditioning coach and staff."

Robinson suffered the injury last season and underwent surgery in late March. He hasn’t yet been cleared to practice.

The Knicks are taking a cautious approach with Robinson’s injury.

"I’m just taking it day by day," he said.

Tom Thibodeau said on Thursday that Robinson has several hurdles to clear – including conditioning hurdles – before he is cleared to play.

"The thing that I like about what he did is he maximized the time," Thibs said.

When asked on Thursday if the Knicks expect Robinson to be ready for the first game of the regular season (Oct. 26), Thibodeau said there was no specific timetable for Robinson’s return.

With Robinson out, the Knicks will likely rely on Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson at center.

Noel performed at an elite level last season while Robinson was out. He was a driving force behind the Knicks’ defense, which finished the season ranked fourth in defensive efficiency. Gibson also was an anchor for the club as Noel’s backup.

Robinson, a young, talented rim defender, is entering an important stretch of his career. The 23-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Knicks can offer Robinson an extension any time between now and the eve of free agency. The extension can be as long as four years and worth as much as $54 million in total. In the offseason, some with the Knicks had said the club was unlikely to agree with Robinson on an extension early in the season; they preferred to evaluate Robinson more fully during the season before deciding on a long-term approach, per SNY sources.