Every assessment of Kristaps Porzingis’ potential comes with the same warning label: If he stays healthy.
That is because skinny, 7-3 players are not known for their durability.
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So it was that the rookie gave the Knicks and their fans a huge scare on Monday when he limped out of what became a 119-113, double-overtime win over the 76ers at the Garden.
Attempting to rebound a missed shot, he landed awkwardly and came up hobbled. He left the game 65 seconds later, then returned briefly in the final seconds of regulation before sitting out the overtimes.
Porzingis said he could have played in overtime if called upon, believes he will not require X-rays and expects to play against the Jazz on Wednesday night at the Garden.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, but I guess I stepped wrong or something, and now my foot is a little bruised,” he said. “It’s not too bad.”
Porzingis said he did not realize he was hurt until he got up and tried to walk. He said a spot on the bottom and side of his right foot was sore.
Coach Derek Fisher said using Porzingis in overtime “wasn’t worth the risk at this point of the season to have him out there for another five or 10 minutes.”
Porzingis said he was told by the medical staff to take a seat after he initially left the game with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter, but there apparently was some miscommunication about that. He ended up back on the floor with the Knicks trailing 96-93 and 13.6 seconds left.
With the 76ers keeping an eye on Porzingis, Anthony drew one-on-one coverage from Nerlens Noel and tied the score with a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining. Then Porzingis left for good.