Knicks forward Jericho Sims looks on against the Washington Wizards...

Knicks forward Jericho Sims looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

For the second straight game, rookie Jericho Sims was the first — and only — center off the Knicks’ bench to see action behind Mitchell Robinson on Sunday.

Tom Thibodeau said that might not always be the case, but on this day, after both Robinson and Sims fouled out, he opted to use Julius Randle at center rather than insert Nerlens Noel or Taj Gibson.

"It’s just open," Thibodeau said. "We’ll see how it unfolds. Sometimes it’ll be matchups. Sometimes it’ll be we just want to look at someone else. We’ll be looking at all of it. [Sims has] had opportunities where he’s played and he’s played well, so that’s important. I think Taj has played really well when you look at his on/off numbers and Nerlens when he’s healthy, we know how good he is."

Sims played 18:00 on Friday against the Heat and had 10 rebounds in 18:25 on Sunday in the Knicks’ 125-109 loss to the 76ers.

With Sims and Robinson fouled out and the Knicks unable to deal with 7-foot Joel Embiid (37 points, 23-for-27 from the free-throw line), it seemed curious that Thibodeau would not play Noel. A league source indicated that Noel has been dealing with plantar fasciitis since before the All-Star break after struggling with a sore left knee much of the season.

"We want him to get healthy," Thibodeau said. "That’s the main thing right now. He’s working his way through that. He missed a lot of time and he’s got to get through practice and that sort of thing. And he’s getting his timing back. But he’s doing well right now, so I think he’s getting close . . . At this point, what you don’t want is you’re in for a game and out for a game, in for a game, out for a game. So I want him to get healthy. It’s been that type of year where you’ve been in and out. Got to get to the point where he’s in."

Injury updates

The Knicks received some measure of good news this weekend. The procedure Derrick Rose had on Friday addressed a skin infection at the site where he had a surgical procedure on his right ankle in December, and Quentin Grimes does not need surgery to repair the right patella subluxation he suffered Friday. But there is no timeline for either to return to the lineup.

Thibodeau said of Grimes, "We feel like the fact that there’s no surgery is good." But for Rose, who has been sidelined since Dec. 16, uncertainty remains.

"Yeah, I wish I could answer that, but I can’t," Thibodeau said. "Obviously, he needs some time right now and then when he’s re-evaluated, as soon as we get more information, we’ll make sure you guys get updated. You just have to sort of let him go through it and be patient with it."

Stick with Quick?

Thibodeau maintains that even if his shooting has dropped off this season, second-year guard Immanuel Quickley still has a positive impact in his role. He found the range Sunday, scoring 21 points.

Said Thibodeau, "The thing that he brings to our team is even if he’s not shooting the ball as well as he did last year but he’s still shooting it well in the fourth, it creates space for us, and that’s important.’’