How long is Mitchell Robinson out? Ankle injury timeline, return date, latest updates for Knicks center

Author Photo
Mitchell Robinson
(NBAE via Getty Images)

The Knicks are gearing up for a playoff push and could get back to full strength at the right time.

Center Mitchell Robinson, who has been out since December after undergoing surgery to repair an ankle injury, is inching closer to a return.

Robinson has been limited to just 21 games this year but put forth some of the best numbers of his career. While he's averaging a career-low 6.2 points per game, Robinson is averaging a career-best 10.3 rebounds per game in a career-high 29.2 minutes. His 5.3 offensive rebounds per game led the NBA when he went down.

How much longer is Robinson out and will he return for the postseason? Here is the latest on his status.

MORE: The latest updates on Julius Randle's shoulder injury

What is Mitchell Robinson's injury?

Per the Knicks, Robinson suffered a stress fracture in his left ankle. 

The injury occurred during New York's loss to Boston on Friday, Dec. 8. Despite going down with the injury, Robinson attempted to play in the second half before exiting the game for good.

During the third quarter, it was evident that Robinson was dealing with an ailment. The 7-footer moved gingerly before being taken out. He finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes.

MORE: NBA Mock Draft: Predicting where March Madness stars will go

How long is Mitchell Robinson out?

There have been conflicting reports and statements regarding Robinson's absence, but it appears he will not be out for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

On Dec. 11, the Knicks announced that Robinson would be evaluated in 8-to-10 weeks after undergoing surgery. 

On Dec. 20, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the Knicks applied for a $7.8 million Disabled Player Exception (DPE), signaling a belief within the organization that Robinson would be out for the remainder of the season.

On Dec. 22, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said that the team would not be changing from the 8-to-10-week timetable, adding that any questions regarding reports of a DPE application should be directed to Knicks team president Leon Rose.

Thibodeau said, "Probably right after the All-Star break [Robinson will] start to do activities on the court," when speaking with reporters on Feb. 6. The All-Star break concluded on Feb. 18, aligning with the 8-to-10-week timeline from Robinson's mid-December surgery.

Ahead of a visit to the Raptors on March 27, Robinson was upgraded from "out" to "questionable" on the team's official injury report. With over two weeks remaining in the regular season, Robinson's upgraded status suggests a return could be imminent.

What is a Disabled Player Exception (DPE)?

As defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its players' association, a Disabled Player Exception permits a team to sign or acquire one player to replace a player who, as a result of a disabling injury or Illness, is unable to play.

By definition, an injury is deemed disabling if team and league physicians believe "more likely than not that the player would be unable to play through the following June 15."

The Knicks' DPE was denied, indicating that doctors believed Robinson could return this season.

WATCH: Follow the biggest games of the 2023-24 NBA season on Sling TV

Knicks schedule 2023-24

The Knicks have 11 games remaining in the 2023-24 season. Here is their schedule to close the season:

Date Opponent Time (ET) TV channel
March 27 at Raptors 7:30 p.m.
March 29 at Spurs 8 p.m.
March 31 vs. Thunder 7 p.m.
April 2 at Heat 7:30 p.m.
April 4 vs. Kings 7:30 p.m.
April 5 at Bulls 8 p.m.
April 7 at Bucks 7 p.m.
April 9 at Bulls 8 p.m.
April 11 at Celtics 7:30 p.m.
April 12 vs. Nets 7:30 p.m.
April 14 vs. Bulls 1 p.m.
Gilbert McGregor Photo

Gilbert McGregor is an NBA content producer for The Sporting News.