Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has missed back-to-back games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs and as his club preps for Thursday's critical Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers, his status remains very much in doubt - and a little bit mysterious.
After undergoing an MRI early in the week - a test that apparently showed nothing too seriously wrong with his knee - the Mavs haven't closed the books on the possible availability of their second-leading scorer being available.
""I'm optimistic on Trey, Luka and Dorian," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Wednesday on Porzingis' status for the potential-elimination game. "But I'm just not optimistic watching how this is going.''
Rick Carlisle describes the effort to get Porzingis ready to play for Game 6 as "working around the clock," and added that Porzingis "desperately wants to play.''
"He doesn't want to close the door on playing tomorrow, and we haven't officially. But I'm not optimistic. If he can't, it'll be because he's unable to. He's a tough guy.''
I hope he has a great night tonight and wakes up feeling good. That's not out of the realm of possibility. ... I hope I'm wrong.''
The Mavs have not been very forthcoming regarding the nature of the injury, which involves KP's right knee - his "other'' knee. TNT's Game 5 broadcast mentioned something about KP banging his knee in Game 1 of the series, and then in Game 2 he put in a great deal of work to overcome the problem and to perform well enough in a Dallas win before being ejected.
In Game 3, the 7-foot-3 star scored 34 points and added 13 rebounds in 38 minutes against the Clippers. He is averaging 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in the series, and over the course of the eight seeding games in Orlando, he was one of 10 players named (along with Doncic) to the "All-Bubble Team.''
Porzingis has battled through right knee soreness throughout this season, missing 10 games in December/January.
While playing for the New York Knicks, Porzingis tore his ACL in his left knee in February 2018 and required a lengthy rehab to return to the floor, work that spanned his time in New York and then his trade to Dallas.
Others on the Dallas roster are also battling injury issues, most notably Doncic. He, Trey Burke and Dorian Finney-Smith are, as Carlisle said, planning on playing.
But it's been established that those walking wounded will attempt to go for Thursday's tip off at 8 p.m. CT. With Kristaps Porzingis, what has been established is ... we don't know.