WEST POINT, N.Y. - As the Knicks were scrimmaging Thursday, their biggest player, prized rookie Kristaps Porzingis, sat at midcourt in a folding chair with his left knee wrapped in ice.
Three days into training camp, the Knicks pulled Porzingis from the contact part of practice because of a sore left knee. The 7-3 Latvian suffered the injury Wednesday night in a non-contact drill. Porzingis said he expects to practice in full Friday.
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"For cautious reasons, I didn't practice,'' he said. "My knee's a little sore. But I'll be fine.''
Porzingis and Derek Fisher downplayed the injury, which occurred in a five-on-none drill during only the second full day of training camp.
He said he made a "wrong movement'' and he felt "a little pinch'' in the knee. "Just running by myself,'' he said. "Five-on-none, just something happened. It's not a big deal.''
Porzingis and the Knicks hope that's the case. That he's already feeling soreness this early in his first NBA camp could prove to be an ominous sign, especially for a team that was beset by injuries last season.
Fisher said this might not be the only time Porzingis sits out parts of practice.
"It's a concern for all of our players, but in particular young players that are still kind of developing as men,'' Fisher said. "At 19 years old and 7 feet tall, he's actually still growing. So there are things you have to be conscious of and aware of.
"We have individualized programs of development. A big part of his is keeping him healthy, and that means there'll be times we have to make decisions that kind of help him protect himself and we feel like are best for his long-term growth.''
Porzingis was in great spirits and didn't seem concerned at all. He said he didn't think his knee issue had anything to do with his height or the roughly 10 pounds he's added since summer league.
"I think my body, I'm already used to it,'' Porzingis said. "Just by playing five-on-five, just how much work we're doing now, starting training camp, it's two hard practices every day . . . My leg's a little sore. So maybe that's what caused the whole thing on the knee.''
This is the second time in the last four months that he suffered a non-contact injury. Leading up to the draft, Porzingis had a hip problem that prevented him from working out for the Knicks and hobbled him for some time after they took him with the No. 4 pick. But he returned for summer league.
"I'm getting in better shape than I was in summer league,'' Porzingis said. "I was just coming out of this injury that I had. And I had just a week to prepare myself. Now I have a longer period, and one of the reasons I'm sitting out today is that they're telling me to look at the long run.
"We didn't need me to practice. Tomorrow or the day after I'll be fine, working with the guys, just making sure I'm fine and in great shape for the season and ready for the opener.''
Notes & quotes: Fisher said "character'' and "a professional mindset'' are this team's strengths, which could be taken as a swipe at last season's group. "I think we have the beginnings at least of a group that's going to be able to handle the adversity and setbacks that come with a long NBA season.''