Passionate New York Knicks fans must have stood holding their breath when Kristaps Porzingis suffered a neck strain in fourth quarter of the game against San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
The incident occurred after Carmelo Anthony fell on the back of the rookie’s head, causing his head to bend awkwardly. The teenager fell flat on the floor, held his neck and grimaced in pain.
“I felt a lot of pain in my neck. The doctors made sure nothing was fractured, everything was fine,” Latvian Porzingis said after light practice on Tuesday. “When I woke up in the morning, I was kind of surprised that my neck wasn’t that stiff anymore,” added the No 4 draft pick, who registered his fist career double-double against the Spurs (13 points, 14 rebounds). After the game, Spurs legend Tim Duncan showered praise on Porzingis: “He was impressive. He is a young guy, but his skill set is there.”
Fortunately, Porzingis didn’t suffer a concussion and has cleared himself for tomorrow’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “For now, I think I’m good for tomorrow.” However, the Knicks staff has officially listed him “questionable” and will evaluate him after Wednesday’s shoot-around.
Porzingis has been a revelation for the Knicks. In four games thus far, he has averaged 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1 block and 1.8 steals. Many were worried if Knicks President, Phil Jackson, had made the wrong choice by gambling on the untested power forward. In fact, Jackson was worried if Porzingis would turn into another Shawn Bradley, urging Porzingis to add at least 10 pounds of muscle.
Meanwhile, Cavs center Timofey Mozgov – formerly a Knick – is eager to square off against Porzingis in tomorrow’s game at Quicken Loans Arena. “I plan to see more tape (before the game). He’s tall and pretty athletic with a 3-point range. He’s going to be hard to guard,” said Mozgov, who expressed skepticism when told that Porzingis stood at 7-foot-3. “What? He’s taller than me? For real?’ I thought he was 7-feet, not 7-3. We’ll see tomorrow.’’