A specific timeline for Porzingis’ rehabilitation will be known after surgery. He is expected to be sidelined for at least 10 months.
Porzingis suffered the ACL tear in his left knee last Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks when he landed awkwardly after converting a dunk. Porzingis’ long rehab will begin shortly after surgery. He has told teammates that he’s ready to attack the rehabilitation process.
“He’s of course really sad because he wanted to be out there so bad with us,” said Enes Kanter, who spoke to Porzingis on Thursday. “But I think at the same time he’s staying really positive. Like, ‘Man I just want to get my surgery done early so I can just start getting my rehab and I can come back and play.'”
Porzingis’ injury, of course, is devastating on several levels for New York — it robs Porzingis of time to develop as the No. 1 option in an NBA offense and prevents him from spending another summer gaining strength and working on other aspects of his game.
But there are some small silver linings in the wake of in the injury, including the possibility that the Knicks end up with a higher pick in the 2018 NBA draft. The Knicks hopes to pair an elite college prospect in the 2018 draft alongside a young core headlined by Porzingis.
Assuming Porzingis returns to the court during the 2018-19 season, the Knicks hope that core can attract free agents in the summer of 2019, when New York projects to have significant cap space and another first-round draft pick.
Surgery for Porzingis was scheduled after he sought a second opinion outside of the Knicks’ organization, which is common for injuries of this magnitude.