Good Morning
Good Morning

Mitchell Robinson questionable for Knicks' opener with sprained ankle

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson reaches for the ball

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson reaches for the ball during a training camp practice at the MSG Training Center on Oct. 1, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks will wear their new “statement” jerseys when they open the 2019-20 NBA season on Wednesday night in San Antonio against the Spurs.

Just what statement the reshuffled and undermanned Knicks are going to be able to make in the opener and during the season remains to be seen.

Shot-blocking center Mitchell Robinson may have to wait a few days to model the new garb. The second-year player is questionable for Wednesday’s game because of a sprained right ankle he suffered going for an offensive rebound in practice on Monday.

“It impacts a lot of stuff,” coach David Fizdale said on Tuesday. “Especially our defense. Hopefully, he’s young and he heals fast and we’ll have him out there, but otherwise we’ve still got to go out there to compete to win.”

Fizdale said he didn’t think Robinson needed any medical tests, such as an X-ray or MRI.

“I don’t think he needs any of that,” Fizdale said. “I think it’s just a regular sprain.”

Julius Randle will slide over to center if Robinson can’t play on Wednesday.

Taj Gibson (calf) is also questionable, but Fizdale said he thought the forward would “be ready to go. He went through practice today. I think he’s feeling better and he’ll be ready to go.”

Fizdale still has to decide on a starting point guard from among Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina, none of whom stood out during the Knicks’ 1-3 preseason.

“They’ve been competing,” Fizdale said. “They’ve all been competing their butts off, fighting for it. That’s a good deal for me to have a tough decision.”

Is that the statement jersey's statement?

Randle joked that “I think Mitch is starting at point guard.”

Wednesday’s game will feature the NBA debut of RJ Barrett, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. Barrett was impressive in the preseason, scoring 15.8 points per game while averaging a team-high 37.4 minutes.

“I think if anybody’s up for it, it’s that kid,” Fizdale said. “I’m not expecting him to work miracles. I just want him to go out there and be himself like he’s been doing.”

The Knicks have nine new players after going 17-65 last season. Fizdale said his message to the new group is to “have fun. Have fun. You’ve been waiting your whole life for this. So just go out there and be OK with messing up. Just do it out of aggression and playing hard.”

Is that the statement jersey’s statement?

Said Barrett: “Most definitely — basketball is fun. It’s what I love to do, so got to have fun with it. I’ve been here for a while, getting used to it, but now it’s like . . . real. As soon as I run out on the court, you’re going to feel like a different kind of vibe. Different tension. I don’t know. I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”

After San Antonio, the Knicks visit the Nets on Friday. The home opener is Saturday against the Celtics. The statement jerseys, which the Knicks are scheduled to wear 18 times this season, will make their Madison Square Garden debut on Nov. 3 vs. Sacramento.

“Excited,” Fizdale said. “Excited. I actually don’t mind starting out on the road. I think it’s good for us to have to bunker in and just connect to each other and go out and play a really good basketball team.”

Is that the statement jersey’s statement? 

Actually, according to the Knicks' website, it’s: “This is more than a jersey. Inspired by the hustle and strength of our city and team. Where heritage design meets bold new trends. We’ll wear it with pride and defend it with toughness.”

New York Sports