When Kristaps Pozingis suffered a lateral meniscus tear in Game 1 of the playoffs, there was no moment where Mavericks fans collectively held their breath. There was no collapse on the court, an appearance of agony, or a wide-spread deliverance of well-wishes via social media. When Porzingis suffered his lateral meniscus tear, no one knew, maybe not even himself.
Porzingis would go on to play the next two games of the Mavericks first-round matchup against the LA Clippers. The discomfort of the injury later snuck up on him and benched him for the remaining three games.
The Mavericks training staff spent the off-season monitoring Porzingis’s progress with the injury. As time went on, it was deemed surgery was the best option for the recovery. Porzingis underwent the surgery on October 9.
After an overeager Porzingis was optimistic about playing on Christmas Day, he’s now deemed to be somewhere around two weeks away from seeing the court.
Rick Carlisle says he isn't certain about a timetable for Kristaps Porzingis to play in games, but it won't be December. "Some time in the next two weeks isn't far-fetched." https://t.co/GRMEoZubbC— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 29, 2020
On Tuesday, Porzingis participated in his first full practice with the team. This included five-on-five action, which he was also seen participating in during the road trip to Los Angeles. Porzingis also said he played some one-on-one.
“I felt good out there,” Porzingis on his first practice back after injury. “It was a good practice . . . I just wanna get back in the rhythm of playing against contact.”
Coming off an injury, Porzingis has had to be preoccupied with more than just the health of his right leg. His confidence level is also having to be trained.
“Physically, I’m getting pretty close to where I need to be,” Porzingis said. “I know doubt is removed by my action, that’s why I’m putting in the work to make sure whenever I do step back on the court, I’m confident.”
This isn’t the first injury Porzingis has suffered. Mavericks fans are more than familiar with the torn ACL he suffered in February 2018 that kept him sidelined his first season in Dallas.
The mental aspect of getting back on the court after two injuries is adding another segment in the recovery timeline. For Porzingis, returning to the court with confidence is something he knows he needs. Unfortunately, that only comes with time.
“I’m putting in a lot of work to make sure whenever I do step back on the court . . . that I’m smooth and not out of rhythm.
“I just need a little bit of time to get back into rhythm and feel good on the court . . . I don’t wanna have that adaption time while I’m already playing.”
The Mavericks are ready to welcome Porzingis back with open arms — just when the time is right. The center allows the offense to space more, creating open shots for other players. Porzingis averaged 20.4 points per game on 35.2% shooting on three-point attempts last season.
He also provided a valuable paint presence on both ends of the floor, something Dallas has shown early they are missing. The seven-footer also averaged 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season.
Though Dallas hopes to make things work until his return, his appearance on the court would help immensely.