Kristaps Porzingis had some bounce in his step as he entered the locker room after a workout Monday, a sign that his Achilles was feeling better. But the Knicks decided to play it safe and keep their starting power forward out against Orlando.
Porzingis missed his second straight game because of a sore left Achilles that has been hampering him for the past week. He said he “probably” will be able to play Wednesday night against the Bucks.
“I think yeah, probably yes,” he said. “I was pretty close today. But they kept me out. It’s nothing serious. I can’t want to get back, honestly.”
Porzingis was checked by the Knicks’ doctors Monday morning. He said he didn’t have an MRI. “I’m feeling better,” he said. “It’s still a little sore. It’s getting better. It’s not getting worse. They want to make sure I’m 100 percent healthy when I come back. They’re kind of keeping me out of this game. I wanted to play so bad because I know this is an important game for us, but I guess that was the best decision.”
Porzingis said he doesn’t feel pain when he walks, as he did Saturday in Houston, but it’s a little “sensitive.” He feels it most when he makes “explosive movements.”
Jeff Hornacek said there is no concern that this could become a major issue. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I think the way they test it out and feel it, it was more just tender to the touch. I think that probably clued them off that it’s nothing serious.
“He thought he probably would even be able to play today, but it’s still a little sore, so he’s going to take it easy.”
Despite the busy month — 17 games in January — Hornacek said the Knicks do not plan to rest players in certain games to keep them fresh. He said he might cut the starters’ minutes in an effort to keep their energy up.
He bristled when asked if he thinks their production could go up if they play fewer minutes. “These timeouts are like five minutes long,” he said. “I don’t think they should be tired. You should be able to play 35 minutes a game with the amount of timeouts and the length of timeouts.
“But that second group, there’s been a lot of times when they’ve won the games for us. If our starters are battling the other team’s starters and our bench gets in there and played well, I’ll just try to go to them more.”