CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis is set to return for the Dallas Mavericks.
The 7-foot-3 Latvian center will start Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets for the first time since having surgery last October to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said there will be a “range of minutes” that he's looking for Porzingis to play, but that will largely depend on how he feels. He 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.”
Carlisle added that 12 players are active for the game but that five others remain in the league's protocol.
Porzingis' surgery came more than a month after Dallas’ first playoff appearance in four years ended in the first round defeat inside the NBA bubble in Florida. Porzingis injured the right knee in his first career playoff game, but he managed to play in the next two games before tightness led the medical staff to keeping him out of the rest of the playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“The key will be to work him in the right way,” Carlisle said.
When he plays, he's a force.
He played in 57 games last season for the Mavericks, averaging 20.4 points and 9.5 rebounds. He spent his first three seasons with the New York Knicks before a blockbuster trade sent him to Dallas.