Carmelo Anthony felt awful when he heard that his former teammate Kristaps Porzingis tore his left ACL in Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee.
Anthony said he planned to reach out to Porzingis, whose season ended after he landed awkwardly following a dunk over Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Porzingis crumbled to the floor, clutching the back of his knee and punching the court.
“It’s sad, man. It’s sad,” Anthony told reporters in Oklahoma City. “It’s just sad to know that injury, the type of year he’s been having, the growth that he has had over this past couple years and even this season.”
Anthony played with Porzingis his first two seasons in the NBA and helped prepare the Latvian big man for becoming the Knicks’ franchise player and face of the organization. Porzingis was thrust into that role when Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City and had handled it well.
Porzingis became an All-Star for the first time this season, fulfilling a dream. But now he can’t play in next weekend’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Porzingis played in 48 games, averaging 22.7 points to lead the Knicks and an NBA-leading 2.38 blocks per game.
“As a friend, forget basketball, as a friend, as a little brother, it’s hard to see anybody go through that,” Anthony said. “But to see him have to deal with that, it’s tough. It’s tough to see and tough to watch.”
Over the past five years, players who have torn their ACLs have generally missed from nine to 20 months.
So it’s possible Porzingis won’t return until early 2019 depending on his rehab and recovery.
“Sending prayers to a good friend and even greater competitor,” Antetokounmpo tweeted. “Hoping for a speedy recovery KP.”