Doc Rivers knows firsthand how devastating a torn ACL can be for a player, which is why he sympathizes with Kristaps Porzingis as he starts the long road back to the Madison Square Garden court.
Rivers was playing with the Knicks when he tore his ACL in 1993-94. It was a different time, and differing circumstances as Rivers was already the wrong side of 30, but he'd play just two more seasons after the injury. Those two years saw Rivers play far fewer minutes per game than any other year of his career.
"Those are tough blows," Rivers said before the Clippers beat the Knicks 128-105 on Friday night, via Marc Berman of NY Post. "In this day and time, an ACL is not a death sentence anymore. Most guys come back and are healthy and fine. But he was having an All-Star season."
Porzingis missed out on playing in his first All-Star game after being selected as a reserve. The 22-year-old Porzingis was averaging 22.9 points through 47 games for the Knicks in his third NBA season.
"He's also a guy who is - I almost want to call him a Pied Piper," Rivers said. "He brings other people. The better he plays, the more people want to play with him. Not having him and not knowing when he'll be back, that hurts more than just this year. That's where the injury hurts them the most."