Once the coach’s comments were reported in the media, Porzingis took to Instagram, posting two pictures of himself sprinting on an outdoor track.
Fizdale had said the 23-year-old power forward was “working his butt off” but hadn’t progressed significantly from the activity he was engaged in before training camp, which included light running and shooting.
“He’s still kind of there, [no] huge jumps,” the coach said.
Porzingis has worked out primarily at the team practice facility but also has worked outside of the facility.
“He’s grinding, trying to get it right. It’s just one of those injuries we’re going to take our time with, make sure it’s right,” Fizdale said.
David Fizdale said Kristaps Porzingis is still only jogging lightly
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) November 9, 2018
Porzingis underwent surgery to repair an ACL tear in his left knee in mid-February. The Knicks do not have a specific timetable for his return. Before the start of training camp, Porzingis said he was pleased with how his rehab had progressed.
Fizdale said he hasn’t allowed himself to consider when Porzingis might return.
“I’m looking at these guys [who are available to play] right now. I’m not even planning on KP at all,” Fizdale said. “I can see instantly how he fits, but I’m just trying to keep my mind focused on them. Because that would just be a huge distraction for me mentally, hoping and wishing for KP, that 25, 28 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks, whatever. I’ve got to lock in on these young bucks, keep them up to par.”
Fizdale added: “I don’t want to get distracted personally as the coach, worried about if and when he’s coming back. I’d rather be focused on the day-to-day task with these guys, and when he gets back that’ll just be a gift for me.”
The Knicks declined to sign Porzingis to a rookie extension prior to last month’s deadline — a move that will give New York an extra $10 million in cap space in the summer of 2019 and will make Porzingis a restricted free agent in the offseason.