Storyline: Kristaps Porzingis Injury

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1 week ago via ESPN

Ian Begley: Kristaps Porzingis’ status for Friday’s preseason finale is uncertain due to a hip injury. But he says the ailment won’t keep him out of the Knicks’ season-opener in Oklahoma City next Thursday. Porzingis said his hip tightness may have been due to overcompensation from a previous ankle injury. He missed Monday’s game against Houston due to the injury and sat out of practice on Wednesday. Porzingis said he works on his hips and posture regularly to prevent any tweaks such as the hip soreness he’s currently dealing with. “I’m 7-3, maybe even 7-5, I don’t know, so it’s important for me to do all the preventative stuff,” he said with a laugh.

As the Knicks were scrimmaging Thursday, Kristaps Porzingis watched from the side with his practice jersey off. Then he walked to the locker room favoring his right knee. Porzingis left the court to get treatment on what the Knicks called a sore right knee. Porzingis didn’t speak to reporters. But coach Jeff Hornacek said he doesn’t think it’s serious and he believes Porzingis will be able to practice Friday. “I think his knee just got a little sore there,” Hornacek said. “So we wanted to stop him from running at that point.”

This season, Porzingis wove a sensational November before cooling down in mid-December. He blamed his Achilles tendinitis — which first surfaced on Christmas — as the cause for a year that didn’t live up to giant expectations. “Until I got hurt with the Achilles, I was playing a very high level, very consistently, every night, but still we weren’t playing at the level that we wanted to as a team, so that didn’t really do anything for me,’’ Porzingis said. “But I liked the consistency. I was out there playing at a high level.”

Porzingis said it’s not his call and will listen to the medical staff. “No problema,” Porzingis said, using his Spanish. “I didn’t feel any pain. I hope [to be ready]. The way I feel right now, yes, I feel I’ll be available [Monday]. It all depends if the doctors let me go. This is the second time this has happened to me. They want to make sure I’m good, 100 percent healed before I step on the court. We don’t want this to happen again. It’s all their decision.”

Because of his ailing left Achilles, Porzingis sat Thursday’s victory over the Bulls at the Garden, the fourth game the 7-foot-3 Latvian has missed since Dec. 31. It appears Sunday, against the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, will make it five. “I’m going and I’m not sure, probably not [playing] tomorrow. But hopefully I can play against Atlanta [Monday],” said Porzingis, listed as “questionable” after going through a limited practice Saturday with the Knicks who, like him, favor a cautious approach to his return. “I did warm-up stuff. Little bit of running up and down. Once they started playing live I was out.”

Porzingis said that gave him the confidence that he could return to the Knicks lineup tonight against the Bucks after missing the past three games with soreness in his Achilles. “I’m ready,” Porzingis said after the Knicks’ morning shootaround. “I have all the energy from resting these days. But we have to be smart. Probably they won’t let me play as much as I usually do. Just make sure there’s not too much stress on the Achilles again. But I’m ready to go. I can’t wait.”

The good news, the expert from Northwestern Memorial Hospital said, is Porzingis likely is too young at 21 to be suffering from Achilles tendinosis, which could result in a career-ending rupture. However, the expert said Porzingis is more prone to Achilles tendinitis than virtually all other NBA players. “For sure people who are of advanced height put more strain on the tendons, their height and length mechanically puts more stress,’’ Dr. Anish R. Kadakia, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and fellowship director of Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Fellowship at Northwestern University, told The Post. “The Achilles is the most relevant because it has to support your whole body weight.’’

The end of the year isn’t ending nicely for the Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis will miss his first game of the season, on New Year’s Eve Saturday vs. Houston, with left Achilles soreness but is not expected to get an MRI. Porzingis said he started feeling pain in his Achilles on Christmas against Boston, but it didn’t affect him in games in Atlanta and New Orleans. However, Porzingis said he woke up Saturday morning with a lot of soreness and wanted to rest so it wouldn’t linger. “After the game it was pretty sore,’’ Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “It’s tough to step up on. I don’ t think it’s anything like a tear — just a strain. Hopefully he’ll be ready Monday.’’

Kristaps Porzingis’ spectacular rejection made the highlight show rounds and also sent him to the injured list. Now he awaits an MRI to determine his status for the rest of the season. The Latvian rookie did not play Wednesday night in the Knicks’ 91-89 loss to the Mavericks because of a shoulder injury sustained Monday against the Pelicans, when he thwarted a dunk attempt from Alonzo Gee above the rim. “It’s really sore,” said Porzingis, who is scheduled to undergo an MRI in New York on Thursday. “I can’t even lift it up.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
October 19, 2017 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
Carmelo Anthony tried grooming Kristaps Porzingis the past two years, knowing that he someday would replace him as the Knicks’ franchise player. Now that he has, Anthony called it “a big, big year” for Porzingis and had some advice. “You’re there. You’re the unicorn. You’ve got to embrace it,” said Anthony, now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. “You’ve got to understand what it’s about, what’s going to happen, whether good or bad, and be ready for it.”
Filling Anthony’s shoes is a tough task, but he believes he’s ready. “I never doubt myself,” he said. “I never feel like I’m not ready for something, even if it’s the most difficult challenge in my life . . . I’m never too afraid of a situation. I’m here now. I had a great experience watching Melo, how he does stuff on and off the court. I think that’s what I’m going to use to go forward.”
October 19, 2017 | 8:00 pm EDT Update