01/20/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/19/2020 18:46
After joyfully going through Sunday's entire practice session at the Lympo practice facilities, Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis was bouncing around like a kid in a candy store.
That's because Porzingis knows that barring a last-minute unforeseen glitch, he'll be back on the court Tuesday when the Mavs (27-15) host the Los Angeles Clippers (30-13) at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
Porzingis has missed the last 10 games with right knee soreness, which was complicated by an illness. On Sunday, Porzingis declared himself fit - with one caveat.
'I haven't talked to the medical staff - all of them yet - and the decision makers,' Porzingis said. 'But from how I feel, I would love to play.
'Not to say, 'Oh, I'm going to play' and then all of a sudden something happens. But the way I'm feeling I don't see why there should be any occurrences, but you never know. I'm just putting in the work and making sure the knee's good, strong, the leg is strong, now I can go.'
The Mavs thought Porzingis was going to play in last Wednesday's game in Sacramento. But he was a late scratch after experiencing some discomfort in his right knee during pregame warmups.
Now, after Sunday's practice, Porzingis hopes those hiccups are behind him.
'Finally, a couple of days ago I completely got rid of the sickness that I had - the fever and all of that - and the knee's been getting better day by day, except for that day in Sacramento when I thought I was going to play,' Porzingis said. 'That was like the worst day.
'But the next day I woke up and it felt like there was nothing, so it's really weird. So today I went through the whole practice, I felt great out there, full of energy.'
That energy was something Porzingis was lacking at times during the last two-plus weeks, especially when he said he developed a fever.
'Now, when you get sick you start to appreciate the moments when you feel good more,' Porzingis said. 'So now, once I actually feel healthy, I'm full of energy and just kind of feeling good and positive, so I'm ready to get back to work and help my team.'
The Mavs certainly are eager to welcome Porzingis back. They went 6-4 over the 10 games during his absence, and definitely missed the 17.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots that he brings to the table.
'We don't want any player playing unless they're healthy,' coach Rick Carlisle said. 'When this thing came up it's been addressed at all levels of rehab, and also the working out and the on the floor activity has been you work back to a point where it's time to get back on the floor and play a game, and he's very close.
'We have tomorrow, and then we'll see where we are for Tuesday, but today was good. He was out there the whole time, he competed. We did do some live stuff, which he was in, so good stuff.'
The Mavs lost to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Dec. 29, and the next day they flew to Oklahoma City, where they played the Thunder on Dec. 31. That's when Porzingis' right knee started giving him trouble.
'I didn't know what it was, but I was warming up and I had some pretty sharp pinching sensations, so I told the medical staff and they did MRI's and all that,' Porzingis said. 'I don't want to get too much into it because I don't really understand what's going on, but it's their decision.
'They're telling me I think you should rest this much time. And I'm trying to be truthful and not rush back and do something stupid. I'm telling them how I feel, and that day I didn't feel good in Sacramento. Today I feel great, and I hope it keeps going the same way and if it does then I'm ready to go.'
Porzingis underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Feb. 13, 2018, and didn't play his first game since that surgery until the Mavs' season opener this season. And in no way does he feels his right knee issues have anything to do with him over-compensating for what happened to his left knee.
'It was a contact injury,' Porzingis said. 'Those things happen. But I feel good.'
Porzingis was feeling so good following Sunday's practice that he was grinning from ear to ear.
'He's an upbeat guy, so look, we'll see where we are come Tuesday,' Carlisle said. 'We're dealing with Mother Nature here - I've been through all of that. But today was a good day.'
Porzingis admits it's been frustrating sitting on the bench in streets clothes and unable to help his team.
'I hate it, it's the worst,' he said. 'The whole last season I was out in a suit, and it's tough. It's not easy at all, but it's part of sports, it's part of basketball, the season is long. It's very important to keep a good head on your shoulders in those moments and push through it and work through it, but at the same time not rush anything. Just take your time with it and make sure when you're back, you're healthy and you can play again.'
NO MLK DAY GAME FOR THE MAVS: The Mavs and Clippers are the only two of the 30 NBA teams that are not playing on Monday, which is when the nation observes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Also, the Mavs and Clippers are the only teams that'll play on Tuesday, when they battle each other on a game that'll be televised on NBA-TV
'I've got to believe it's just a scheduling glitch,' coach Rick Carlisle said. 'But it probably has something to do with the big picture of scheduling.
'But it also gives NBA-TV a real exclusive game on Tuesday night, which is probably something that they like.'