Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis working toward January return

Dallas Mavericks unicorn big man Kristaps Porzingis underwent surgery in October to repair a lateral meniscus injury in his right knee and hasn’t yet played this season.

After the 25-year-old was a full participant in practice on Tuesday for the first time since the procedure, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters he believes Porzingis could return to action in January.

“Sometime in the next couple of weeks isn’t far-fetched. It isn’t certain, either,” Carlisle explained, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I think we just have to go day to day with it and hope that things can keep moving in a positive direction.”

Porzingis, who missed a year and a half of action after he tore the ACL in his left knee in February 2018 while with the New York Knicks, suffered this latest setback during the opening game of the playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Aug. 17. He toughed things out for two more games before he was sidelined through Dallas’ postseason elimination.

Porzingis averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 35.2% from three-point range and 42.7% from the field in his first season with the Mavericks.

“I just need a little bit of time now to get back in a rhythm and feel good on the court, and that’s it,” Porzingis said on Tuesday about his return. “I don’t want to have that adaptation time while I’m already playing. I want to try to do as much as I can right now before I start playing, and once I start playing, I want to play at a high level right away.”

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