Knicks' chances of going up 2-0 over Pacers dips after more tough injury news

It never ends.
New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The New York Knicks entered the 2024 playoffs shorthanded without Julius Randle. Since then, Bojan Bogdanovic has undergone season-ending surgery. Mitchell Robinson missed a game in the first-round series against the Sixers because of the ankle he had surgery on in December, and he will miss another in the semifinals.

On Monday, Robinson played 12 minutes in New York's 121-117 win over Indiana. He finished with two points, two rebounds, one assist, and three fouls. He hasn't moved right since he returned from surgery, but Robinson looked completely gassed in Game 1, so much so that fans called for Tom Thibodeau to bench him.

The schedule for the second-round series is especially grueling. The Knicks and Pacers will have only one day of rest between Games 1, 2, 3, and 4 rather than two to three days in between games when the series heads to Indiana. Given that the Knicks' starters play heavy minutes and they don't have much of a bench, New York will have no choice but to adjust.

Wednesday's game will be much more challenging without Robinson, who has already been ruled out with left ankle injury management.

Mitchell Robinson to miss Game 2 because of ankle injury management

The good news is that Achiuwa came up big for New York in the two games he played in the first round. He and OG Anunoby helped clamp Joel Embiid down the stretch in the Knicks' Game 4 win in Philadelphia.

Achiuwa didn't play in Games 5 or 6, but he did play in Game 1 on Monday, if only for four minutes. His playing time will increase on Wednesday, especially if Isaiah Hartenstein gets in foul trouble.

The Pacers are a good matchup for Achiuwa. His athleticism and speed will help him guard Myles Turner, whereas Robinson was a step too slow.

Achiuwa isn't going to score in double digits, but he will protect the paint and rebound. When he was first traded to the Knicks, he stepped in as the backup center while Robinson was still out. He's been part of the next man-up mentality that's served New York well. It'll be challenging for the Knicks to be down another player in the postseason, but at least Achiuwa's there to answer the call.

UPDATE: Knicks PR announced that Robinson has a stress fracture in his left ankle and will be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks.