Dallas Mavericks star big man Kristaps Porzingis will miss the start of the 2020-21 season, Tim Bontemps of ESPN reports, as he continues to rehabilitate a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
Porzingis suffered the injury in Game 1 of the Mavericks’ first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, opting to have surgery in early October. It’s Porzingis’ second major knee surgery, with ‘The Unicorn’ having torn his left ACL in Feb. 2018 and missing the entire 2018-19 season.
Pound-for-pound one of the most gifted players in the league, Porzingis’ absence could be rocky even if budding superstar Luka Doncic continues to play at an MVP level. Porzingis averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in the 2019-20 regular season and 23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.0 block per game in the playoffs.
Simply put, that type of production is difficult to replicate. Nonetheless, the Mavericks were able to go 11-7 without Porzingis last season and they were 32-25 in the games he did play.
Unfortunately for Dallas, some of the best teams in the West are only going to get better: the Los Angeles Lakers are set to acquire sixth man Dennis Schroder via trade; the Phoenix Suns are finalizing a trade for Chris Paul; and the Portland Trail Blazers are adding Robert Covington to their roster.
Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson says that Jan. 1 is the date that Porzingis will be cleared for on-court activity. Following his surgery, the Mavs were optimistic that he would be ready by the start of training camp.