Mitchell Robinson thought the pain in his right hand was something he could easily shake off.
It turned out it wasn’t. Robinson suffered a fracture of the fourth metacarpal when he hit Julius Randle’s elbow while attempting to block a shot in the second quarter of the Knicks-Wizards game on Feb. 12.
"It was crazy," the third-year center said on Saturday after watching his teammates practice. "At first I didn’t know. I thought it was just like a little numb thing and I could just shake it off and come back. But it just started aching."
Robinson underwent surgery on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated after next month’s All-Star break.
"So far, I feel great," he said. "Basically, what I’ve been doing now is doing the bike, a little running here and there. I’ve been watching the team practice and trying to stay updated just in case they change something or something’s added. Other than just focusing in on that, just staying in shape."
Robinson declined to put a timeline on his return to the court. "I have not done that," he said. "I’m really waiting to see what the docs say and I’ll leave it up to them. It’s really just waiting patiently."
On Sunday at the Garden, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau will face the Minnesota Timberwolves for the first time since he was fired as their coach and team president on Jan. 6, 2019.
"There’s a lot of good people there," he said. "I enjoyed my time there. It was a good experience. Proud of what we were able to accomplish. But then it’s time to move on. Unfortunately, there are a lot of former teams for me."
Thibodeau led the Timberwolves to the franchise’s first playoff appearance in 14 years in 2017-18 and went 97-107 overall. He was fired after a victory over the Lakers gave Minnesota a 19-21 record, including a 15-12 mark after a November trade of star Jimmy Butler to the 76ers. Thibodeau thought the team was on the upswing, but his bosses felt otherwise.
"I was proud of where we were," he said. "We were a terrific offensive team. Many people didn’t think we would be that . . . There were some things, obviously, that we wanted to do better, but that second year there was very good. And the third year, I felt, we had a really good chance as well. After the trade with Jimmy, that team was playing well."
Well, this could be a first. Instead of a postponement, the NBA has added a game to the Knicks’ first-half schedule. They will host the Detroit Pistons on March 4 at 7:30 p.m.
The Knicks have had one game postponed — Saturday’s against the Spurs at the Garden after four San Antonio players tested positive for COVID-19.
The NBA has said it will announce the second-half schedule before the first half ends March 4. The All-Star Game is scheduled for March 7 in Atlanta.