After a report indicated Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis has yet to begin sprinting nine months following ACL surgery, the 23-year-old star posted photos on his Instagram story of him sprinting to show his progress.
Knicks head coach David Fizdale told the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy on Thursday that Porzingis, who suffered a torn ACL in February, was at the same stage in his recovery as he was over the summer.
"He's still kind of there," Fizdale said Thursday, per the New York Daily News. "Not huge jumps."
Both the Knicks and Porzingis have been cautious with the former No. 4 pick in his rehab, and the team still does not have a timetable for his return. Porzingis said in June, "I have to be smart" when it comes to rehabbing his knee. But even so, Fizdale revealed last month that the process has been frustrating for Porzingis.
It was reported that Kristaps Porzingis can't run but he posted pictures on his IG story of him running pic.twitter.com/OfQnD8hxSY- Greg Blas (@gman42995) November 9, 2018
Thursday night, Porzingis posted two photos of him sprinting to dispute Fizdale's quote. It's unclear when the photos of him sprinting on an outdoor track were shot, but he added a third photo that also seemingly refuted Fizdale's quote: a screenshot of MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov saying "This is number one bulls---."
Fizdale added, via ESPN's Ian Begley: "He's grinding, trying to get it right. It's just one of those injuries we're going to take our time with, make sure it's right."
The team did not reach an agreement with Porzingis on a rookie extension in October, which will make him a restricted free agent in July. The Knicks would be able to match any offer from another team, and while he factors into New York's long-term plans, Fizdale said he's not focused on the big man at the moment.
"I don't want to get distracted personally as the coach, worried about if and when he's coming back," Fizdale said, per the Daily News. "I'd rather be focused on the day-to-day task with these guys and when he gets back, that'll just be a gift for me. You can get distracted as a coach, caught up in that world of when and hopefully soon and you lose focus on what you're doing. And these guys deserve my undivided attention."
Porzingis had planned to join the Knicks on their road trips but has only traveled to games in Brooklyn.
"Right now we just feel like let's keep him in his groove, keep that leg where it is," Fizdale said, via the Daily News. "Travel is tough with rehabbing it. So right now we've all come to the agreement, on a lot of these trips, we're just keeping him home."
Fizdale added that though the timetable remains unclear, Porzingis' rehab should take as long as required for him to get healthy.
"He's going to come on some. He's got a good rhythm going," Fizdale said. "We like the routine we got him on right now. And so I'm OK with it. He's really lived up to everything I've asked from him. He's even asked to come on some trips. When it's right, it's right, and we'll do it."