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Kristaps Porzingis on Knee Surgery Recovery: Feeling 'Better Than I Ever Have'

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IISeptember 30, 2019

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 09: Kristaps Porzingis of Dallas Mavericks warms up prior the game between Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on April 9, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
Omar Vega/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks will have a fully healthy Unicorn for the 2019-20 NBA season. 

"I feel great physically," Kristaps Porzingis said to ESPN's Tim MacMahon Monday. "I feel 100 percent. I feel better better than I ever have in my life. It's been a long time since I've been out, but I've been putting in work throughout this rehab process. I'm extremely excited to be back on the court and to remind everybody what I'm capable of doing."

The 24-year-old All-Star was dealt from the New York Knicks to Dallas on Jan. 31. He has not played for the Mavericks while his ACL heals from a tear suffered on Feb. 6, 2018. Porzingis won't be limited in training camp, per MacMahon, which opens for Dallas on Tuesday.

Following the 2015 fourth overall pick's trade to Dallas, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that he had been "essentially cleared to play," according to a source, but didn't trust how the Knicks might have handled his return mid-tank. 

During Porzingis' introductory press conference with the Mavericks, owner Mark Cuban disclosed that the 7'3" power forward wouldn't play during the 2018-19 campaign. Porzingis told reporters that sitting out the year was always the plan.

"There's no rush," he said (h/t Associated Press). "I've been patient this whole time, and I'm going to keep staying patient, which is one of the hardest things for me to do. We're going to make the right decision."

Cuban added that the franchise wanted to keep 20-year-old guard and reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic and Porzingis "together for the next 20 years" as Mavericks. 

"It could be a nightmare for the teams going forward," Porzingis told MacMahon on Monday regarding him and Doncic. "We just have to develop chemistry on the floor." 

And it seems finally Porzingis will be able to begin that process. 

Through 185 games with the Knicks, Porzingis averaged 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.0 blocks. Before going down with his ACL injury, he was averaging a career-high 22.7 points through 48 games in 2017-18. 

The Mavericks will host the Washington Wizards to begin their regular season on Oct. 23.