Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis says sitting out despite being healthy has been 'very, very tough'

The playoffs are quickly approaching, but we're still yet to see the true impact of one of this season's biggest trades. That's because lanky big man Kristaps Porzingis has remained sidelined since being dealt by the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks

Despite being fully healthy, and having returned to full basketball activities, Porzingis still hasn't played in any games. In a recent interview, he understandably said that the process has been, "very, very tough."  Via ESPN:

"It's so weird that I'm not able to -- I am able to, but I'm not playing yet. It's the game day, and I feel like it's the game day, but you just pick a suit and you wear it and you're there. And I try to be in the moment when I'm there with the team and help as much as I can without being able to be on the floor, but it's very, very, very tough. Tougher than I expected."

However, he added that he's been proud of his patience, as he works to strengthen his body for the long run.

Porzingis, who participated in a full 5-on-5 practice for the first time with the Mavs on March 13, admits that his patience occasionally wears thin but believes the cautious process is in his best long-term interests.

"I'm not going to rush anything," Porzingis said. "Of course I want to play. Three months out of the surgery, I was like, 'I think I can start playing maybe.' It's been on my mind the whole time.

"I'm really proud of myself for staying this patient with the knee and taking my time. There hasn't been a lot of cases of a 7-(foot-)3 guy tearing his ACL. The good thing about the injury is it was a contact injury. If it was not a contact injury, that would be much more dangerous for me. But it was a contact injury. That means my body mechanics are fine. Now what I've been doing is just getting better with them. I'll keep doing that the whole summer, keep working on my body, keep strengthening my joints, my knees, my ankles, my posture, everything.

Porzingis is in the midst of a long-term program his personal team hopes will revamp his body and allow him to stay healthy for years to come. It was going to be in place with the Knicks, and the Mavericks have accepted it as well. 

It's no surprise that this process has been grueling and frustrating for Porzingis, who hasn't played in an NBA game since Feb. 6, 2018. That's a long time for a player not to be able to do what they love -- especially when he's been fully recovered from his ACL tear for a few months now. 

Still, it seems that Porzingis has bought into this plan, and hopefully it will allow him to remain healthy and continue the trajectory he was on before the injury. His partnership with Luka Doncic -- assuming he accepts the qualifying offer or signs a new deal with the Mavs -- will be super exciting to watch next season. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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