Isaiah Hartenstein is out of the Knicks’ lineup again with the same nagging injury that kept him out of two games in January.
Hartenstein, the Knicks’ fill-in starter at center with Mitchell Robinson still recuperating from December ankle surgery, didn’t play in Saturday’s game against the Pacers after aggravating his recurring left Achilles injury in the second quarter of Thursday’s loss to the Mavericks.
Hartenstein, whom Tom Thibodeau described as “day-to-day,” has filled in more than ably in Robinson’s two-month absence, averaging 8.3 points and 11.2 rebounds in 24 games as a starter.
Jalen Brunson also was slated to be a game-time decision Saturday night after sitting out Thursday’s shorthanded loss to the Mavericks with a sprained ankle.
Jericho Sims also was questionable for Saturday’s game after missing two games with an illness, but Precious Achiuwa and Taj Gibson, who officially was signed to his second 10-day contract Saturday, also were available to man the center position.
“I think it’s important just because of his understanding of what we’re trying to do,” Thibodeau said of the 38-year-old Gibson. “I think that helps your team. He can step right in, he understands the defensive schemes, he understands the screening component. And so give us what you have. And I think he’s great for our young guys.
“That’s what I like about Alec, and Bojan (Bogdanovic), as well. I think it’s great veteran leadership. We have a good blend, we have good young guys, we have some guys in the middle and we have a couple of older guys. Taj will be upset with me, but …”
“It means a lot. I played with the Nets [from 2014-17], but all my friends are New Yorkers, and they’re all Knicks fans,” Bogdanovic said. “So it’s gonna be even better for them, as well, to see me in a Knick jersey.
“There’s a big Croatian community here in New York, so I’ll have a lot of these guys from my country supporting the Knicks now.”