Kristaps Porzingis missed Saturday night’s game against the Pistons with a lower left leg contusion suffered Friday night against the Celtics, the team said. He is listed as day-to-day.
X-rays were negative, and Porzingis played 20 minutes against the Celtics Friday night before reporting discomfort yesterday afternoon. Porzingis was unsure when he suffered the injury, the Knicks said.
Coach Kurt Rambis acknowledged before the game that a number of his players are roughed up, but he said everyone was available. Shortly after that, though, the team decided otherwise, sitting Porzingis for only the second game this season. Derrick Williams started in his place.
“I can tell you nothing about the severity,” Rambis said after the Knicks’ 102-89 win over the Pistons, adding that Porzingis was unable to push off on his foot that afternoon.
Porzingis played only 2:41 in the fourth quarter Friday night — a decision that appears to be unrelated to the injury. Rambis said it was because of Porzingis’ inexperience. That inexperience becomes more of a factor when the Knicks are forced to play small, Rambis said, and Porzingis moves to center.
Before Saturday night’s game, Porzingis ranked fourth on the team in minutes per game, but his 360 fourth-quarter minutes were sixth.
“It’s experience,” Rambis said. “It’s been tough because a lot of times we’ve gone small, so he’s either going to be at the 5 spot and its matchups. I’ve got to get him a comfort level.”
Rambis added that in late-game situations, his preference is to go with “guys have been in the league for a while and you’re trusting their instincts.”