The Wizards will have Kristaps Porzinigs available for his debut Sunday night against the Indiana Pacers, coach Wes Unseld Jr. confirmed during his pregame press conference.
Porzingis has been sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee and has not played since Jan. 29. He was acquired by the Wizards in a deadline day deal that sent Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans to Dallas on Feb. 10.
There will be some limitations to the night for Porzingis, Unseld said, but the addition will be a welcome sign.
“I’m just excited to have him out there, for him to feel healthy and comfortable enough to compete,” Unseld said. “It adds another dimension to this group.”
Porzingis averaged 19.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and two assists per game in 34 games with the Mavericks this season. The Wizards are hopeful that adding the 7-foot-3 frontcourt option will give the lineup more options on both ends of the floor.
Adding Porzingis to the lineup wasn’t always a given, as bone bruises can be difficult injuries to project a return for. And with just over a month left before the end of the regular season there was a sliver of doubt he’d make his debut in Washington this season.
“I personally did, from a medical standpoint we were under the impression there was nothing beyond just that bone bruise,” Unseld said. “Of course he’s had other ailments throughout his career, but those are well-documented. Those weren’t in play. With this type of injury, it sometimes can be a matter of weeks, sometimes months.”
There will be an easing in process, naturally, but getting a player of Porzingis’ caliber could give them a spark down the stretch for their final 20 games.
“He’s shown to be pretty good at protecting the rim,” Unseld said. “His length, his size, i think he’s got enough mobility to move his feet and guard someone on the perimeter. You can cross-match at times as well. But just to have another guy back there, another rim protector, another paint protector is a good thing to have.”