Kristaps Porzingis landed awkwardly after a dunk in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Bucks. He immediately clutched onto his left leg in pain, leaving Knicks‘ fans fearing the worst as they watched him being helped off the court.
After the game, the Knicks broke the news that their star forward had suffered a torn ACL.
Just three minutes into the second quarter, Porzingis landed on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot after his dunk. It looked like his ankle buckled as he landed on his left leg.
He was in obvious pain as he grabbed his knee. Teammates helped him walk off the court without having to put much weight on the leg.
He was able to walk on his own and was described as “okay” as he headed to the hospital to get an MRI, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley. Begley reported at the time that head coach Jeff Hornaceck didn’t want to speculate on the injury but called it “deflating.”
“More than a basketball player, he’s my brother,” Knicks’ center Enes Kanter said to ESPN after the game. “I don’t want to see anyone going down like that hurting his knee. He’s about to be an All-Star. I’m just going to pray for him tonight. He is the most important part of our family.”
Porzingis had 11 30-point games this season, compared to three 30-point games in his first two seasons. He was averaging 22.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and a league-high 2.4 blocks per game.
The 7-foot-3 star had just been chosen for his first All-Star game.
After the loss to the Bucks, the Knicks stand at 23-32 and three spots out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They were holding onto hope to make a playoff run but without Porzingis, things aren’t looking good.
It’s an awful end to a season of great potential for the Latvian star. He has become the new face of the franchise and has the talent to lead the team back to the playoffs.
Shams Charania of The Vertical reported soon after the news broke that Porzingis was scheduling the surgery to repair the torn ligament.
The recovery after an ACL tear could be anywhere from eight months to at least a year, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported.
Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker just returned last Friday after missing 11 months. He had a second ACL surgery on the same knee.
“He can come back from it and he’ll be the same player again,” Parker said to The News following the Bucks’ 103-89 victory Tuesday. “He can do it.”
In the meantime, the Knicks need someone to step up for the remainder of the season. They were up by one point before losing Porzingis in the second. About halfway through the third quarter, they were down by 20.
Here’s to a speedy recovery, Porzingis.