Kristaps Porzingis will not play on Tuesday at Memphis, but he and Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle expressed optimism that the stand-out-but-oft-injured big man might play in Wednesday’s home game against New Orleans.
Porzingis, said Carlisle, “has done very well over the last 10 days, in terms of significant, gradual progress. So that’s a very good sign.”
Porzingis, who will miss a seventh straight game (and will have missed 29 of Dallas' 69 games), is presently dealing with right knee soreness. Over the course of this season, the 7-3 Porzingis has dealt with problems with his knees, his wrist, an ankle and his back.
"I look forward to this offseason, really,'' Porzingis said, "because it’s been a tough year for me.”
But way before that, there is work to be done - work that included KP participating on some level in Monday's practice at Memphis.
“(Rehab) is never as fun as being with the team, doing all the activities with the team, but that’s when I have to lock in and be a soldier and do my work to make sure I can be, as soon as possible, practicing like today with the guys and stuff,'' he said. "It’s a good feeling to getting back closer to being able to play, and it’s good the team’s playing well. That’s always good, and I look forward to adding more to what we’re doing right now.”
Even without KP and another rotation big, Maxi Kleber, the Mavericks are now 40-28 and are closing strong in their bid to retain the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference playoff race. The Mavs have won four straight, and 10 of their last 12.
The Mavs have just four regular-season games remaining before it is playoffs time. Carlisle said it would be optimal to have Porzingis back in the Luka Doncic-led lineup for every imaginable reason.
“No question about that -- for conditioning, for chemistry, for rhythm, for things having to do with the system,'' Carlisle said. "It’s important to get those kinds of reps in in game situations as well as practice situations.”
That won't happen Tuesday. The Mavs - and KP - would like it to happen soon.