Woj: 'Optimism' Wizards' Kristaps Porziņģis Will Return from Injury Within 2 Weeks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 23, 2023

Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis (6) lies on the floor after being injured during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Washington. Porzingis left the game and did not return. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

There is reportedly "optimism" that Washington Wizards big man Kristaps Porziņģis can return to the court in the next two weeks, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Porziņģis suffered a left ankle sprain during Saturday's matchup with the Orlando Magic.

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. told reporters Monday that Porziņģis would travel with the team for its upcoming five-game road trip, though he didn't offer a timeline for his return.

It's a tough development for a Wizards team that has dealt with a flurry of injuries this season and has only had its three best players—Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Porziņģis—together on the court for 23 of the 46 games this season.

Add in the fact that the Wizards trade Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, per multiple reports, and the team's frontcourt depth has taken a hit.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: Lakers are sending the 2023 Chicago second-rounder, their own 2029 second-rounder and the Wizards/Lakers less favorable second-rounder in 2028 in the Kendrick Nunn-for-Rui Hachimura trade.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Finalized deal: Rui Hachimura for Kendrick Nunn, 2023 second via Chicago, 2029 LA second and and less favorable of 2028 Washington/LA seconds, sources tell ESPN.

Porziņģis, 27, has been having an excellent season for the Wizards, averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three.

Injuries have consistently been a storyline for the big man, however. He's only played 50 or more games four times in his eight seasons and missed the entirety of the 2018-19 season with a torn ACL. That injury halted in particular what seemed like a superstar ascension after Porziņģis' first three seasons with the New York Knicks, which included his lone All-Star Game appearance in the 2017-18 season.

He's never quite hit those heights again, but he's played well in Washington, and his injury is a tough break for a 20-26 Wizards team that already finds itself in a real battle to stay among the playoff contenders in a deep Eastern Conference.

With Porziņģis out, Daniel Gafford and Taj Gibson will likely share the center duties, while Kuzma should get bumped up to power forward and Deni Avdija likely will move into the starting lineup at the 3.