ORLANDO, Fla. — Kristaps Porzingis missed his first game of the season Wednesday after suffering an ankle injury in Tuesday night’s win over Charlotte and re-aggravating a right elbow issue that he said may require a procedure after the season.
Porzingis has bursitis in his shooting elbow that’s affected him before. He said he banged it one of the times he fell to the floor playing against the more physical Dwight Howard and it just swelled up again. He said he might have it drained or “do some stuff with it” after the season.
“When I hit it again it just swells up and it’s sensitive and I can’t stretch my arm,” Porzingis said. “It bothers me a little bit but not that bad. It’s always just, I have to get the swelling down and then I’ll be fine again. But I think once the season’s over I might have to do something about it. I just can’t keep going like this every year.”
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Porzingis said he sprained his left ankle on his final drive of the game, when he scored on a layup to put the Knicks up three in the closing seconds against the Hornets. Porzingis finished with 28 points.
He said he felt “a little pinch” in the ankle and it bothered him the rest of the game. Porzingis and the Knicks didn’t want to risk further injury by completing the back-to-back. The Knicks’ next game is Saturday so Porzingis has a few days to rest. He believes he will return Saturday against the Kings.
“Obviously, if something is hurting like that, it’s not the smartest thing to keep pushing it and play through pain,” Porzingis said. “If I was feeling much better from last night than I would play for sure. But it just didn’t get that much better to play today.”
The third-year power forward is off to the best start in Knicks’ history, with 300 points in the first 10 games. Porzingis won Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week, after leading the Knicks to a 3-1 record. Mindaugas Kuzminskas was activated for the first time this season with Porzingis out.
Porzingis said he wanted to play every game this season, but he tried playing through some nagging things last season and it affected him as the season wore on. He’s missed 26 games his first two years in the league.
“Sometimes it’s smart when something’s hurting to maybe sit out one game and not later lose four games,” he said. “In this case, I got to the point with the ankle I needed to give it a rest. Hopefully I’ll be ready next game.”