Report: Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis to make season debut vs. Pelicans after offseason knee surgery

Cassandra Negley
·2 min read

The Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis is ready to make his season debut following offseason knee surgery, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported. He previously was set to debut Monday, but the Mavericks’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans was postponed.

Porzingis missed the first nine games of the 2020-21 season while rehabbing from the October surgery for a lateral meniscus injury in his right knee. He is officially listed as questionable on the Mavericks injury report and is included as a likely starter in the team’s media notes, per ESPN.

He’s been a full participant at practice for two weeks as he ramps up to playing time. It comes at a needed time for Dallas, if the Mavericks are able to resume after Monday’s postponement. The team currently does not have eight eligible players due to two positive COVID-19 tests and the ensuing contact tracing. The number of positive cases in the NBA rose this weekend just as it has around the country two weeks after the holidays.

Porzingis back on court as scheduled

Kristaps Porzingis claps on the bench.
Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis will reportedly make his season debut on Monday night. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters at the beginning of December that Porzingis, 25, wouldn’t be back “until at least January.” Up until that point his rehab “has gone without issue,” which appears to still be the case.

The 7-foot-3 center suffered the injury 20 minutes into Game 1 of the first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers. Though he played significant minutes in the second and third games — he had 34 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3 — he was ruled out for the rest of the series.

It’s the second knee surgery for Porzingis. In February 2018, while with the New York Knicks, he tore his right ACL and missed the rest of the next season. He was traded to Dallas in January 2019 and signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension before even playing a game.

In 54 games for the Mavericks last season, he averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 31.8 minutes.

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