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Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (thumb) out at least 3 weeks

Defensive-minded big man Mitchell Robinson is averaging 1.8 blocks per game this season.

Mitchell Robinson is 1 of the better paint-protectors in the NBA this season.

New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson will be out at least three weeks after having surgery to repair a fractured right thumb, the team announced Thursday.

Robinson played just nine minutes in the Knicks’ 116-105 home loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday before exiting due to injury. Prior to that, he had played at least 34 minutes in six of New York’s previous nine games.

The big man is averaging 7.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this season, while his 1.8 blocks per game ranks fifth overall in the league. He leads the NBA in box outs per game (3.4) and is among the league-leaders in total contested shots, contested 2-point shots and screen assists.

Based on the three-week timeline, Robinson would return to the lineup sometime in early February. His absence likely means bigger roles for backup centers Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims as well as reserve forward Obi Toppin.

The Knicks (25-21) are No. 7 in the Eastern Conference and have seven of their next 11 games against teams over .500.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.