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Knicks playing it safe with Kristaps Porzingis' knee

Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia speaks to the media

Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia speaks to the media at Barclays Center on June 25, 2015 after being drafted fourth overall by the New York Knicks in the 2015 NBA draft. Credit: Mike Stobe

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Kristaps Porzingis was a spectator during practice again Friday because of a sore left knee.

But the Knicks' first-round pick said he didn't feel any soreness in the knee and that the team just held him out for precautionary reasons. Porzingis said he expects to return for the night session or Saturday morning's practice.

"They don't want me to jump in too early," Porzingis said. "They tell me it's a long season. Me as a player I want to be back as soon as possible. I don't have any pain in my knee anymore. They did all the tests this morning before practice and everything is fine."

Joining Porzingis on the sideline was swingman Arron Afflalo, who sat out with a sore left hamstring.

Porzingis said he felt "a pinch" in his knee during a non-contact drill in Wednesday night's practice. He said he felt well enough to practice Friday. Derek Fisher agreed, but said the Knicks were erring on the side of caution.

"I just think there was enough of an initial irritation just to be smart," Fisher said. "He's doing a lot of stuff before practice starts. He's not really hobbled per se. Just being smart with him and trying to help him understand how long NBA seasons are and that you can't push through everything. Take your time. It's basically the first of October. There's a long way to go. There's no need having him pushing through things at this point.

"He's probably frustrated I guess with me and our training staff because we're telling him that he can't. It's not that he can't move or he couldn't participate. We're seeing really good things from him. We want to see that for 82 games during the season and not for 35 days during the preseason."

New York Sports