Porzingis still has hurdles to clear before Wizards debut


WASHINGTON -- The Wizards returned from the All-Star break for their first practice on Wednesday night without much of a progress update on Kristaps Porzingis' knee injury as he looks ahead to his debut for the team after arriving in a trade deadline deal with the Mavericks.

Porzingis was considered day-to-day before the break and now, roughly a week later, he remains day-to-day. And though he took a step forward in his road back from a bone bruise in his right knee, that step indicates how far he still has to go.

According to head coach Wes Unseld Jr., Porzingis played 1-on-1 against Wizards assistant coaches on Wednesday. He has to work his way up to 3-on-3 and then 5-on-5 before he can return. Though he will be re-evaluated on Thursday ahead of their first game after the break, which is against the Spurs on Friday, he has several hurdles still to clear.

"After the break, we’re still kind of concerned about just throwing him out there. We’re still ramping things up for him," Unseld Jr. said.

Porzingis, 26, has missed 10 total games between his time with the Mavs and Wizards. He landed in Washington in a trade on Feb. 10. Porzingis hasn't played since Jan. 29 and this weekend will mark four weeks since he sustained the injury.

The Mavs initially classified his injury as a sore knee. Porzingis underwent testing which ruled out structural damage, but it is still going to keep him out for upwards of a month at least.

"We need to make sure he’s exactly where he needs to be when we re-integrate him into the 5-on-5," Unseld Jr. said.

Unseld Jr. wouldn't rule out Porzingis playing on Friday, saying he wanted to see what the team's medical staff determined on Thursday. But unless Porzingis can get cleared and then play 5-on-5 in practice, it would seem unlikely he plays Friday against San Antonio. The Wizards will then play the next night in Cleveland in a back-to-back, meaning Thursday will be their last practice until Monday.

The Wizards have 24 games remaining this season and will hope to have their new big man part of the mix sooner than later. But given the latest information, it may take a bit longer for that to happen.

Contact Us