Chondrocyte apoptosis and extracellular matrix (ECM) degeneration have been implicated in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). Based on previously reported microarray analysis, HRAS (Harvey rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog), a member of the RAS protein family, was chosen as a potential regulator of OA chondrocyte apoptosis and ECM degradation. HRAS expression was downregulated in OA tissues, particularly in mild-OA tissues. HRAS overexpression partially attenuated IL-1β-induced OA chondrocyte apoptosis and ECM degradation. Similar to HRAS, the long non-coding RNA LINC00623 was downregulated in OA tissues. LINC00623 knockdown enhanced IL-1β-induced OA chondrocyte apoptosis and ECM degradation, which could be partially reversed by HRAS overexpression. It has been reported that lncRNAs act as ceRNAs of miRNAs to exert their function. Herein, miR-101 was predicted to bind to both LINC00623 and HRAS, which was further confirmed by luciferase reporter and RIP assays. LINC00623 competed with HRAS for miR-101 binding, therefore reducing the inhibitory effect of miR-101 on HRAS expression. More importantly, the effect of LINC00623 was partially eliminated by miR-101 inhibition. Overall, the LINC00623/miR-101/HRAS axis modulates OA chondrocyte apoptosis, senescence and ECM degradation through MAPK signaling, which might play a critical role in OA development.