Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has been ruled out for the remainder of the first-round series against the LA Clippers due to a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, the team announced Friday evening.
Surgery to repair the meniscus is a possibility, but Porzingis said that decision will not be made until the Mavs' medical staff evaluates how his knee responds to treatment, including platement-rich plasma injections.
"We're hoping with the injections that I did that that can help me and hopefully the meniscus can [heal without surgery]," Porzingis said Saturday. "I don't know how it works exactly, but repair itself with the injections and stuff. It depends on how in the next few weeks, and then the medical staff is going to make the decision."
Porzingis continues to do some basketball activities and is holding out hope that he might be able to return if the Mavericks, who trail 3-2 in the series entering Sunday's Game 6, manage to come back to beat the Clippers and advance.
"He wants to keep the door open to possibly play if we can move on," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's a very tough situation, but he's trying his best."
In a tweet Saturday, Porzingis promised to "bounce back soon."
I appreciate all the support! I love this game and this is a part of it. Im gonna bounce back soon 💪🏼— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) August 29, 2020
Porzingis injured the knee in the first half of Game 1. He said he believes the injury occurred when he collided with a Clipper while chasing an offensive rebound.
Porzingis was listed as questionable for Game 2, when he scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 36 minutes to help the Mavs win. He had a 34-point, 13-rebound performance in 38 minutes in a Game 3 loss.
Porzingis' knee issue was not mentioned on the Game 4 injury report, but he was scratched minutes before tipoff after reporting stiffness and soreness. He also missed Game 5, getting downgraded from questionable to out the morning of the game.
"It was just super disappointing, super frustrating, but I learned how to accept that feeling and look forward and look at what's next," Porzingis said. "It's hard to not be able to be out there with the guys and fight, especially in a series like this that's so much fun."
The 7-foot-3 Porzingis, 25, averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 57 games during his first season with the Mavericks.
Porzingis missed a season and a half after tearing the ACL in his left knee in February 2018 in what ended up being his final game for the New York Knicks. The Mavs acquired Porzingis in a trade the following year, pairing him with rising superstar Luka Doncic as the franchise cornerstones.
Dallas re-signed Porzingis last summer to maximum contract worth $158 million over five seasons, an investment the franchise made despite concerns about his durability. Porzingis sat out one end of several back-to-backs this season as a precautionary measure and missed a 10-game stretch in the middle of the season due to right knee soreness.
"I can't really be too worried about that," Porzingis said of his injury history. "Both of [the knee injuries] were contact injuries, and these things happen. These things happen. What I can do is focus on the work that I can put in to make sure that I decrease the possibility of that happening. That means strengthening everything and doing all the preventative work that I can. That's in my hands."