There has never been a real timetable on Kristaps Porzingis as he recovers from surgery to repair his ACL, but he's making progress -- shooting on court while sprinting off court.
Porzingis shared the sprinting photos after a mixup involving head coach David Fizdale regarding his supposed lack of progress. Fizdale has owned up for his mixup, and Porzingis continues to rehab. And he feels himself getting closer.
"The hard part is not being able to compete," Porzingis recently told GQ. Now that it's getting closer, I can taste it. I'm trying to stay patient. The day will come."
Porzingis also detailed what his typical rehab day is like, noting there are workouts where his knee "doesn't feel as good" as it does other days.
"Mentally, that's the most difficult part, because you want to keep going and you want to do more, but there's something holding you back, because you shouldn't push it too much. I'm always trying to be smart and patient with it, but at some point, you get anxious and antsy."
"I'm already doing some contact drills, and things where I'm competing against somebody," Porzingis said about his on-court rehab. "It's good that it's coming to an end, but in many ways, it's been a blessing in disguise. I've learned so much about my body and myself. My vision is much clearer on many, many things.
Porzingis added that in addition to strengthening his knee, he is building up stability in his core, hips, feet, and ankles in an effort to be "compact, explosive, and athletic."
Regarding a potential return date, Porzingis used the same kind of line that Fizdale, Steve Mills, and Scott Perry have been using. Basically, when he's cleared, he'll be back."
"I have nothing to give you," Porzingis said. "I wish I could, but it's not in my hands. Whenever they clear me, I'm going to be back."
There are those -- including Knicks legend and MSG announcer Walt Frazier -- who don't think Porzingis will return in 2019. And Knicks owner James Dolan is on record saying he isn't sure if Porzingis will return before the 2019-20 season.
While Porzingis coming back and showing he's healthy would be huge for him and the team, it's fair to question whether him coming back -- and potentially helping the team win more games than they would without him -- would be detrimental to their long-term future.
The Knicks are currently tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA, which would put them in position to get one of the top four picks in the 2019 NBA Draft -- where Duke's Zion Williamson will be waiting to be popped at No. 1 overall.