Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (link) has learned that Knicks center Jericho Sims is anticipated to miss one or two weeks due to a sprained right ankle, despite the fact that he is still listed on the injury report as questionable for Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn. Sims sustained the injury during the Lakers’ Monday victory.
Sims has averaged just 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game across 14 appearances so far this season, but he has become an important part of New York’s rotation since starting center Mitchell Robinson went down with a left ankle injury. Sims started the Knicks’ first five games without Robinson and had been playing between 17 and 21 minutes per night.
Although Isaiah Hartenstein had been handling the majority of the minutes at the five and looks like the obvious candidate to move into the starting lineup, the Knicks now find themselves shorthanded up front. With Robinson and Sims unavailable, the team’s only other center besides Hartenstein is 38-year-old Taj Gibson, who just made his season debut last week and probably shouldn’t be counted on for meaningful minutes.
Even before Wojnarowski revealed Sims’ recovery timeline, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post had suggested that something has to give for the Knicks, who can’t count on Hartenstein to keep playing 39 minutes per game like he did on Monday.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has resisted the idea of using a power forward like Julius Randle as a small-ball five, since he prefers to always have some form of rim protection on the floor, but Thibodeau may need to be flexible on that front, writes Bondy.
The front staff may also add a center through free agency as a backup plan. The Knicks roster is currently complete, but several players—Ryan Arcidiacono and DaQuan Jeffries, for example—do not have completely guaranteed contracts, giving the franchise considerable flexibility to add and subtract players as needed.