Speaking to Caron Butler of TNT’s Players Only broadcast crew during the second quarter of the Mavericks tilt with the Spurs, Kristaps Porzingis revealed that he would compete in five-on-five practice tomorrow for the first time since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament February 6, 2018.
“Today I played three-on-three,” Porzingis told Butler. “Tomorrow is going to be my first five-on-five practice, full on, without any restrictions at all.”
Porzingis said tomorrow he's going to participate in 5-on-5 with no restrictions at practice. pic.twitter.com/Uy3pbWQI4I— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) March 13, 2019
Porzingis’ rehab, much like his relationship with the New York Knicks, has taken strange twists and turns. There were conflicting reports in November questioning if the former fourth overall pick was even running. Before that Porzingis elected to rehab in Spain with Real Madrid rather than the Knicks. Ultimately, there seemed to be a gray storm cloud hovering over Porzingis’ rehab but that finally appears to be dissipating.
The Mavericks traded for Porzingis before the trade deadline with the expectation that he would sit out the remainder of the season. The front office appears to be firm on that stance, but this is a welcomed development for a team floundering away in the final games of the season.
Before his horrific knee injury, Porzingis was developing into one of the bright, young stars of the league. At 22, the native Latvian received his first all-star berth, posting 22.7 points, and 6.6 rebounds, while shooting 39 percent from three in 32 minutes per game.
Practice clips have surfaced of Porzingis effortlessly canning jumpers like a machine programmed to make shot after shot after shot, but five-on-five action is the final step before game action. The Mavericks will be careful with the the team’s second cornerstone, and October feels years away, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.