Knicks coach Fizdale pleasantly surprised by Porzingis progress
Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis appeared to take issue with New York Knicks coach David Fizdale’s assessment this week of his rehab status in the wake of knee surgery.
After Fizdale told reporters that Porzingis was up to “light running” but added “Sprinting — he’s not at that level yet” the 23-year-old promptly posted photos on Instagram of himself sprinting on an outdoor track.
Fizdale told reporters at the Knicks practice facility on Friday that his comments the day before were based on what he’d seen of Porzingis’s progress in the gym.
“I didn’t realize he had went out to the track,” Fizdale said, according to Newsday. “But I was happy as hell to see that stride, I know that. I might to out with him next time and do some power walking because, man, that got me out of the bed when I saw that!”
The coach also said he realized his comments might have been mis-interpreted by Porzingis as a knock on his efforts in rehab.
“I think how he took it was that people thought he wasn’t busting his hump, he took it personally, it got to him that people would think that,” Fizdale said. “And he’s really, this guy has been a terror on his workouts. I think that’s what it was in response to.”
Porzingis underwent surgery to repair a torn left knee ligament on February 13. Fizdale said Thursday he wasn’t counting on having the 7-foot-3-inch center back this season.
“I’m not planning on it,” the coach said, adding that he needed to keep his attention focused getting the most out of the players on the active roster.
“That would be a huge distraction for me mentally, hoping and wishing for KP, that 25, 28 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, whatever,” Fizdale said.
Porzingis hasn’t spoken to reporters since the opening day of training camp in September, when he said he was “getting itchy” to return to the court.
“But it won’t happen until I am 110 percent and medically cleared,” he said, although his impatience was clear in an Instagram post two weeks ago when he captioned a photo of himself in action “I just wanna hoop.”
The absence of Porzingis hasn’t made things any easier for a Knicks team in rebuilding mode under new coach Fizdale this season. New York are 4-8 and 11th in the Eastern Conference.
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