Isaiah Hartenstein injury puts Knicks center at risk of ending absurd streak

Isaiah Hartenstein left the Knicks' win over the Raptors in the third quarter.
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein
New York Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Isaiah Hartenstein has been the New York Knicks' Iron Man. He played in all 82 regular season games in 2022-23 and has stepped up tremendously in the absence of Mitchell Robinson. Hartenstein's upped his value, making the two-year, $16 million deal he signed with New York in 2022 look even more like a steal.

Things took an unfortunate turn in the Knicks' game against the Raptors on Saturday, as Hartenstein was ruled out in the third quarter after playing 23 minutes. After the win, Tom Thibodeau said it was a sprained ankle, but it has since been labeled as a sore ankle.

Hartenstein has played in all 46 of New York's games this season and 164 straight contests.

Luckily for Hartenstein and the Knicks, the team is in the midst of two full days off before making the short trip to Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has played in a consecutive 164 NBA games

Sustaining an injury is always unfortunate, but it's a good thing that Hartenstein's ankle went from being considered a sprain to a sore ankle. If he were to go down for even a couple of weeks, the Knicks would be in a tough spot.

Precious Achiuwa had his best game as a Knick on Saturday, finishing with 18 points (9-of-10) and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. He'd likely get the starting center nod on Tuesday if Hartenstein's unable to play. Jericho Sims, who is back outside of Thibodeau's rotation, would likely be Achiuwa's backup.

The priority should be ensuring Hartenstein's 100 percent before he returns to the court. There's a chance that Robinson could return at the end of the regular season, which is why New York's Disabled Player Exception was denied, but he'll have to ease back into things after being out since December.

The Knicks could add more depth at center (subscription required) before the Feb. 8 deadline, which has been mentioned as a possibility. Regardless of what the front office does, hopefully if Hartenstein does have to miss time, it'll only be a game or two.