For the first time in nearly three weeks, Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis sounds like he’s ready to make his return to the court.
Porzingis, who has missed Dallas’ last 10 games with a right knee injury, is targeting his return for the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
“We’ll probably go that way of being cautious again, not to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to play,’ and all of a sudden something happens,” Porzingis said, via the Associated Press. “The way I’m feeling, I don’t see why there should be any hurdles. But you never know.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gave a similar answer about Porzingis’ status on Monday.
“If he’s feeling good, he’ll play,” Carlisle said, via Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.
Porzingis hasn’t played since Dec. 29, when he tweaked his knee in a loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. The 24-year-old has averaged 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds in 31 games this season, his first back on the court since he tore his ACL with the New York Knicks in 2018. This latest injury, however, is in his other knee.
Porzingis was set to make his return last Wednesday against Sacramento, however he was a late scratch after the knee pain suddenly returned during warmups. He did not play Friday during a win against the Portland Trail Blazers, either, but was seen on Saturday at UFC 246 in Las Vegas, where Conor McGregor picked up his first win since 2016 by beating Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds.
While his history with leg injuries can be concerning for some, Porzingis said he isn’t bothered one bit.
“Most important that it feels stable,” Porzingis said, via the Associated Press. “If it feels stable then why would I be afraid? If it feels unstable, I think that’s when maybe those things can start to creep up in your mind. I feel good. I feel stable.”
And if all goes well before the game on Tuesday, Porzingis should be out on the court.
“When this thing came up, it’s been addressed at all levels of rehab,” Carlisle said, via the Associated Press. “You work back to a point where it’s time to get back on the floor and play a game. He’s very close.”
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