Dallas Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis to make season debut vs. Charlotte Hornets

Sunil Kumar


Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis will make his season debut Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets, coach Rick Carlisle told reporters.

Porzingis will start and be on undisclosed minutes restriction as he returns from October surgery to address a lateral meniscus injury in his left knee. Carlisle said there will be a “range of minutes” that he is looking for Porzingis to play, but that will largely depend on how he feels. The coach said he will communicate with Porzingis throughout the game and check on how he is holding up.

“The big thing is to get him back out on the floor,” Carlisle said. “We won’t play him in long stretches. That doesn’t make sense. We will try to space it and get him in situations where he can get in a rhythm.”

Porzingis, 25, has been a full participant in Mavericks’ practices for the past two weeks as he has been ramping up for his return. He had been considered to debut Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans, but that game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues among the Mavericks.

The addition of Porzingis would help the Mavericks deal with a depth issue created by a recent pair of positive COVID-19 tests and related contact tracing on the roster. Power forward Maxi Kleber, small forward Dorian Finney-Smith, shooting guard Josh Richardson and point guard Jalen Brunson are all in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Carlisle said 12 players are active for the game but that five others remain in the league’s protocol.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis, who missed a season and a half while recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in February 2018, suffered his most recent injury in the opener of the Mavericks’ playoff series against the LA Clippers in August. He played the next two games — including a 34-point, 13-rebound performance in Game 3 — before the pain and stiffness in the knee forced Porzingis to sit out the remainder of the series.

Porzingis averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks during his first season with the Mavericks in 2019-20.

Information from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and The Associated Press was used in this report.



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