PHILADELPHIA — Kristaps Porzingis’ rookie season might be over.
Porzingis hasn’t shot the basketball in more than a week because of a strained right shoulder. He’s holding out hope that he can play in one of the Knicks’ remaining two games, but Porzingis said it hurts when he lifts his shoulder all the way up.
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“It doesn’t sound too positive,” he said. “We’ll see.”VoteKnicks 2016-17: Keep 'em or dump 'em?
Porzingis was injured March 28 in New Orleans while blocking Alonzo Gee’s dunk attempt. Before missing his fifth straight game Friday night, Porzingis said there is no structural damage.
He hopes he can shoot Saturday and return for the Knicks’ last regular-season home game Sunday against Toronto. But that appears to be a very long shot at this point.
“He’s not going to play unless the medical staff feels with 100-percent certainty it’s the right thing to do,” Kurt Rambis said.
“Since the injury, I haven’t shot,” Porzingis said. “I haven’t moved the shoulder that much. I’m trying to get healthy again, but it’s taking some time. It doesn’t hurt as much. But still a little bit, so they have a little doubt. So they don’t want me to come back yet. I want to come back. But it’s not really in my hands.”
Porzingis has averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.86 blocks in 72 games. He far exceeded most expectations after the Knicks took him fourth overall in the draft.
“You can see the tremendous potential in him to have an impact in a lot of areas in the game,” Rambis said. “He’s just got to continue to gain that experience, get a greater comfort level in the areas that he can have an impact on the game, get stronger, continue to let his game evolve. He has a massive amount of potential.”