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Knicks center Mitchell Robinson undergoes thumb surgery, out at least three weeks

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks reacts to the loss to the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2023 in New York City. The Toronto Raptors defeated the New York Knicks 123-121 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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The Knicks are eight points per 100 possessions better when Mitchell Robinson is on the court at center this season.

Which is trouble because he will be out at least three weeks — and likely longer — following thumb surgery he underwent on Thursday, the Knicks announced.

Mitchell left the Knicks’ loss to the Wizards on Wednesday in the first half with what the team described at the time as a sprained thumb. It’s clearly more than that, although without details on where the fracture occurred it’s difficult to predict a return timeline.

Mitchell is averaging 7.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game for New York, but his biggest impact is on the defensive end where he is an anchor for the team blocking 1.8 shots a game. Expect Tom Thibodeau to lean heavily on Isaiah Hartenstein at center and use more small-ball lineups. For a Knicks team in a fight with the Heat and Pacers (among others) for the sixth seed and avoiding the play-in the next three weeks could be huge.