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Kristaps Porzingis has no structural damage in ankle

Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks

Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks walk off the court during a timeout during the first half against Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena on Feb. 23, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jason Miller

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — After a disappointing trade deadline day, Knicks fans got a little reprieve Friday afternoon. Kristaps Porzingis said doctors detected no structural damage in his sprained right ankle and added that it’s possible he will play as soon as Monday.

“Feeling better,” he said. “There’s a lot of swelling, but I can walk around no problem and the swelling is going down, too.”

Asked about playing Monday against the Raptors, he said he thinks it’s “a possibility.”

“Right now again, I don’t want to say anything that’s gonna get me in trouble,” Por zin gis said. “I don’t want to say that I’ll play. But it all depends on them. If they see that I’m ready and I can go, then I’ll play, sure.”

Porzingis left Thursday night’s loss to the Cavaliers right before halftime and did not return. He appeared with a walking boot afterward.

On Thursday night, the 7-3 forward feared the injury might be serious, saying he didn’t know when he’d be back. By Friday, though, he already had shed the boot for a pair of flip-flops. During the portion of practice open to the media, he shot free throws with Courtney Lee and walked without impediment.

“I felt it right away,” Porzin gis said of the injury. “ . . . I still ran to attack the next possession, but I was limping and I knew it was a sprain. Right after that play, I couldn’t go no more.”

Now that he has confirmation that the injury isn’t structural, he plans to get rid of the walking boot for good — if the doctors let him.

“Maybe they want me to [wear it] just because of the pressure, and it’s better for walking,’’ he said. “But it kind of looks too dramatic, so I don’t really like it.”

It’s almost definite that he’ll miss Saturday night’s game against the 76ers, Jeff Hornacek said.

Porzingis has played 50 of the Knicks’ 58 games, averaging 18.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. But though he’s often been a source of optimism in his two seasons with the Knicks, it briefly looked as if he might be getting down, too.

After the injury, he tweeted a meme indicating that things haven’t exactly gone as planned in his path to success. It was deleted shortly after that.

“With every game, it’s looking tougher and tougher, obviously, as we keep losing,” Porzingis said about the Knicks’ prospects. “But I feel like [if] mathematically we have chances to make it, we still have to keep believing and hoping that we can make the playoffs. It’s just getting tougher now. But we cannot be like thinking ‘playoff, playoff, playoff.’ We need to focus game by game, just go day by day, and try to get better as a team. And once we really focus on every moment, then we’re going to make steps toward the playoffs.”

Notes & quotes: With 24 games left, Hornacek said his team is still getting the hang of certain things, including the triangle and team defense. “Defensively, it’s still a work in progress,” he said. “It seems like we make a couple strides, then we fall back a couple. Physical play, I think we need to get back to. We’re not doing much of that. We’re just kind of — almost like we’re just playing the game. We’ve got to play with a little more intensity.” . . . The Knicks are being cautious with Joakim Noah, who tweaked a hamstring during a practice before the All-Star break. Hornacek said the injury-ravaged Noah is “getting close” and that the Knicks hope to have him back in the next week or so . . . The Knicks, who are 23-35 and have lost 22 of their last 29 games, made no moves before the 3 p.m. trade deadline Thursday, which Porzingis said surprised him.

New York Sports