Kristaps Porzingis isn’t quite sure if the lateral menisus tear in his right knee will eventually require surgery. But the Dallas Mavericks’ forward is holding out hope that it won’t.
An MRI performed earlier this week revealed the tear, and Porzingis said he had been taking some Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to help alleviate the pain.
“We’re hoping with the injections that it could help me,” Porzingis said on Saturday. “Hopefully the meniscus can kind of — I don’t know how it works exactly – but repair itself with the injections.
“But it depends on how I’m going to feel in the next two weeks and then I think the medical staff is going to make a decision whether I need that (surgery) or not.”
One thing is for sure: Porzingis won’t play in Game 6 of the Mavs’ Western Conference quarterfinals series against the Los Angeles Clippers. The game tips off Sunday at 2:30 p.m. inside the NBA bubble with the Clippers leading the series, 3-2.
Porzingis also hasn’t been medically cleared to play if the series between the Mavs and Clippers reaches a Game 7.
“My hope is that if we have a chance to advance (to the conference semifinals), maybe somehow I can get the knee better and play,” Porzingis said. “I tried to go now and practice, and it just wasn’t — the medical staff just didn’t accept me playing and doing more.
“So for now, I don’t know. I’m going to be here, because if I was able to play through it, then maybe I can keep playing through it at some point. Just now I’m doing intense treatment and doing all I can to improve the knee, and then we’ll see where we go.”
Porzingis said he originally injured his knee while battling for an offensive rebound in the first half of Game 1 of this series. But he continued to play in that game, and in the ensuing two contests before missing the past two games.
“I think somebody kind of fell on (the knee), Porzingis said. “I think it was (Marcus) Morris (Sr.), on accident, obviously, and I felt something in my knee. But I just kept playing through it, and then at halftime I told the medical staff my knee was bothering me a little bit.
“They worked on it and I was good to go in the second half, and that’s when I got ejected and then my knee locked up after Game 1. Somehow we were able to get it going (for Game 2) — it felt good.”
However, Porzingis said in Game 3 his knee got worse. And just before the tipoff of Game 4, the pain in his knee was so excruciating that Porzingis was a last-minute scratch.
“Right before the game (4) I just couldn’t get anything going and it’s super disappointing, super frustrating,” he said. “But I’ve learned how to accept that feeling and look forward to what’s next.”
Porzingis has learned how to accept that feeling because of what happened to him on Feb. 6, 2018. That’s the day Porzingis tore his left anterior cruciate ligament after landing awkwardly following a dunk in a road game against the Milwaukee Bucks while he was playing for the New York Knicks.
Porzingis underwent surgery on Feb. 13, 2018, was traded to the Mavs on Jan, 31, 2019, and made his Mavs’ debut on opening day this season.
So as far as knee injuries go, Porzingis has been there, done that. And the Mavs hope his right knee responds favorably to treatment and he’ll be able to play if they can somehow win two more games against the Clippers.
“The door is not closed on the entire season if we are able to advance,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When I spoke to you (media) guys on Wednesday about this, he had practiced, he was sore. It was clear that he’s doing everything that he can.
“The guy’s been doing treatment, I don’t know, 10 hours a day. . .and it just wasn’t progressing the way that he had hoped. He was on the floor today and did some shooting and did a little bit of moving around, so he wants to keep the door open to possibly play if we can move on, but it’s a very tough situation, but he’s trying his best.”
Someone asked Porzingis if he was worried about his future in the NBA due to injuries to each of his two knees, or if he thought these were just isolated incidents. His response?
“I can’t really be too worried about that,” Porzingis said. “Both of (the injuries) were contact injuries, and these things happen. What I can do is focus on the work that I can put in to make sure that I decrease the possibility of that happening.
“That means strengthening everything and just trying to do all of the preventive work I can, and that’s in my hands. Again, it’s a contact sport and these things can happen, so I can’t be too frustrated over these kinds of things.”
At the time of his injury, Porzingis was playing some of the best basketball of his career. Overall, the 7-3, 240-pounder averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this season.
Also, Porzingis had 34 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3 against the Clippers. It’s the first time a member of the Mavs produced a 30-point, 10-rebound game in the postseason since Dirk Nowitzki collected 34 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
Clearly, Porzingis is a major centerpiece to what the Mavs are trying to get accomplished.
“Obviously I was (feeling) bad for a little bit for a little while once I found out what happened in the knee,” Porzingis said. “But I was able to accept that feeling and move past that pretty quickly and look into what’s next and go on from there. Obviously if this is the end for my season, it has a bitter end, although I think my year as it went on I got into a better rhythm and I started playing better basketball with each game.
“I feel like now once I go into the offseason and make sure I get the knee healthy, I’m looking forward to just thinking picking up where I left off and keep playing that high level of basketball and look forward to the next things we can accomplish as a team.”
Still, Porzingis shrugs at the mere thought that he may have played his last game this season.
“I’ve got to thank the medical staff,” he said. “They put in crazy hours with me and in the treatment room and in the weight room. But at this point it was just a little too much maybe, and they don’t want me to push it any more, so we’re here and we’re going day-by-day.
“It’s hard to not be able to be out there with the guys and fight, especially in a series like this that’s so much fun. It’s really tough and frustrating, but it is what it is and now I’m looking forward to getting healthy.”