Knicks center Mitchell Robinson will miss several weeks after undergoing surgery Tuesday on his broken right hand.
The Knicks said Robinson, who was injured in Friday’s win over Washington, will be reevaluated after the All-Star Game, which is being planned for March 7 in Atlanta.
Nerlens Noel has started each of the Knicks’ last two games, averaging eight points, five rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Veteran big man Taj Gibson has moved into the rotation to back up Noel.
When the Knicks (14-15) visit Orlando on Wednesday, seeking their first four-game winning streak of the season, the Magic will be without rookie Cole Anthony, who has a fractured right rib. The New York City native is expected out through the All-Star break.
Frank Ntilikina has been unavailable for the past week for contact tracing, but the guard continually has tested negative for the virus and will be available Wednesday night, the team announced.
Of course, Ntilikina hasn’t appeared in a game since suffering a knee injury on Dec. 29. Before the COVID situation surfaced, the former lottery pick had been available since Jan. 24, but sat out eight straight games.
Former Magic point guard Elfrid Payton’s minutes have been reduced since Derrick Rose’s arrival via trade with Detroit on Feb. 7, but he has played effectively during that four-game stretch as he has remained in the starting lineup.
Payton has averaged 14.3 points on 51 percent shooting, despite playing just 24 minutes per game.
In his previous 25 appearances, he had been logging 28.5 minutes per outing.
RJ Barrett had a strong game Monday against Atlanta with 21 points on 8-for-14 from the field following a four-game slump in which he had totaled 31 points on 26.8 percent shooting.
“I’m not worried about RJ. He’s had an excellent season for us,” Tom Thibodeau said. “He does a lot of other things besides shoot the ball. He’s a huge part of the team. Not everyone is going to play great every night. Everyone has to sacrifice. The guys who have it going, those will be the guys who are out there. We need everyone and everyone is stepping up right now.”