The All-Star break can’t come soon enough. Another major star is set to miss the remainder of the season with an injury.
The injury occurred early in the 2nd quarter of a home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks after attempting to finish a dunk. Porzingis landed on the foot of fellow All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo and needed help to make it off the court. An MRI revealed the tear and was confirmed by ESPN’s Ian Begley.
An MRI confirmed that Kristaps Porzingis tore the ACL in his left knee, the Knicks say.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 7, 2018
Kristaps Porzingis Tears ACL, Will Miss Season
The Knicks are currently 23-32 and 11th in the Eastern Conference and have lost four in a row. This injury most likely removes any playoff hopes for the team and the future of the franchise hinges upon how well Porzingis can come back from this injury.
Now with the playoffs out of reach, the Knicks will compete for a high draft position. This enables the team to move certain pieces, like Willy Hernangomez, whom the team reportedly traded to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, for assets and potential draft picks.
Porzingis averaged 22.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game this season. His season is over and his estimated to return in 9 to 12 months after surgery.
Yet, with his 7’3” frame and concerns for future knee health, this recovery road may be more complicated. He had already missed seven games this season and thirty-three games overall in his career.
His return, if all is fixed without issues, should come around this time next year, which is more than halfway through the season. That return may be a spark in the offense for a playoff run or could be the bright side on another dismal season.
A Season Without Porzingis
As of today, the Knicks will likely win the 10th draft pick and can use that to bolster a supporting cast for Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr.
With the prominence of Porzingis gone, this season could turn into a needed evaluation for bench players to show they belong on a rebuilding team.
The harsh reality of seeing an underperforming team without a star player could ignite free agency moves this off-season as well as big trades on draft night.
The Knicks have nearly an entire year, and potentially more, to figure out how to build around Porzingis and bring the winning culture back to New York.
23 December 2015: New York Knicks Forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) looks to pass during the game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Oh. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)