DALLAS - In Kristaps Porzingis' distant past? A knee injury resulting in a rehab process that on Thursday he said seemed like "walking in the desert, seeing no end.''
In Porzingis' present? A rehab of the other knee that he says is, relatively, a "piece of cake.''
In Porzingis' future? A push-back on the Dallas Mavericks' plan to keep him rehabbing until at least January.
“I’m not,” Porzingis said when asked whether he is ruling out a return closer to the Dec. 22 start of the NBA season. “I feel good. I’ve made big steps forward in my progress. I just want to be out there as soon as possible. I want to be out there for Christmas and play those games.''
The Mavericks’ 7-3 center underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. That was 12 weeks ago, and since then, he's starting to participate in "light shooting'' as the team begins training camp this week.
Dallas' medical team sees no reason to push this ... but naturally, the patient/player does. As KP admits, “We’ll see. That’s me talking. That’s not the medical staff talking. So we’ll see what the timeline is for me.”
In any event, it seems quite clear that the previous knee injury is not in any way akin to this one. "Desert'' vs. "cake,'' and all of that. And Porzingis also made it clear that he's in agreement with fellow star Luka Doncic that while last year, Dallas' step-up was toward a playoff berth (a goal achieved) ... this year, more is desired.
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“I think everybody is excited and everybody knows we’re capable of taking the next step,” Porzingis said. “And that’s what excites everybody. ... The highest expectations we can imagine. That has to be our end goal. I don’t know when we’ll get there, but we’re working toward that. And I believe this is going to be a great year for us.”