Kristaps Porzingis is progressing, but his return is not imminent

Ten months after Kristaps Porzingis fell to the Garden floor with a torn ACL in his left knee, the team has announced that he is making progress in his rehabilitation, but a return date is not imminent.

The full statement from the team is below:

Kristaps Porzingis underwent recent evaluation by the team’s medical/training/performance staff.  The evaluation confirmed that Kristaps’ knee is healing well, and he has made good progress with rehabilitation. Once he reaches the remaining rehab benchmarks, he will advance to on-court team drills and activities.  He will be re-evaluated in mid-February. 

Mid-February will mark the one-year anniversary of Porzingis’ injury. The timetable for players returning from ACL injuries tends to be in the 12-month range; however, each case is different, and with Kristaps Porzingis truly a unicorn in body type, it is difficult to evaluate his injury in comparison to others.

We learned from one of KP’s Comeback videos in June how the plan from the beginning was to take it slow with his recovery process, as his own fitness coach recognized that his body mechanics need to improve to reduce the risk of future injuries.

Steve Mills provided additional detail on Porzingis’ recovery at a press conference with reporters before the medical update was released.

“What he’s done is he’s progressed to the point where he’s able to do some one-on-one,” Mills said, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Actually work on the court with our coaches. There’s still some benchmarks that we need to look at to see when he could move to the next phase of his on-court development, on-court progression. But he’s at the point now where he’s able to do 45-minute sessions on the floor with our coaches to go through a bunch of on-court activities.”

There is ongoing debate by basketball observers on whether it is prudent to bring back Porzingis at all this season.

Some fans would prefer they take it slow with the budding superstar and let the team’s record fall where it may in the lottery standings without him.

Others believe it makes sense to have him return, at least for a short stint of games, in order to prove to potential free agents that he is healthy and ready to team up with another star to become a competitive force in the Eastern Conference, although when Mills was asked about this point in today’s press conference, he said it was not part of the consideration.

If Kristaps Porzingis meets the necessary benchmarks during his reevaluation in mid-February, I would expect it will still take some time for him to actually return to the court, so it’s safe to say that we probably won’t see #6 on the Garden floor until March, the earliest.


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