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Knicks' Mitchell Robinson in concussion protocol after playing Rockets

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson looks on during a

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson looks on during a free throw in the first half of an NBA game against the Rockets at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

CHICAGO — While Saturday’s win over Houston was hardly a work of art, what really stood out was the bodies being helped up off the court as the game took a physical turn. And the fallout continued for the Knicks as Mitchell Robinson did not travel with the team to Chicago and has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocols.

Robinson took an elbow to the face from Houston’s Jae’Sean Tate in the third quarter and left the floor bleeding from his nose. He did not return to the game and will now have to go through a series of steps to return to action. Robinson wasn’t the only one as players on both teams took shots to the face.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was asked Sunday before the Knicks took on the Bulls what he thought about the way the game was being officiated this season and he didn’t hide his displeasure.

"Let’s see, there was a concussion," he said, starting to list the collisions from Saturday. "My thing is I don’t think you can predetermine how you’re going to call a game. I want to say that. I do like the intent of it in terms of I don’t like to see officials tricked into calls, I don’t like to see players rewarded for things that the rule is interpreted this way so if you do this you can get to the free-throw line.

" . . . On the flip side, I don’t want us going to into a game where guys are getting clobbered if we’ve already predetermined that we’re not going to call those. That’s not right either. So to find that balance of what is a foul, I guess it comes back to a more experienced, trained eye, balance of the crew, and is something being taken advantage of. The number one job of an official in my mind is to control and manage the game. Simple."

Kemba goes back-to-back

Kemba Walker was in the starting lineup Sunday, marking the first time he’d played a back-to-back set of games since January, 15-16, 2020. He did not participate in any back-to-back sets last season and skipped the front end of the first one this season.

"Nothing is set in stone with the back-to-backs," Thibodeau said. "So it’s just communication with the medical people. Kemba, of course, has a lot of say in it. We trust him. If he feels comfortable, he’s done a great job taking care of his body. So that’s where we are with that."

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