Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Knox, Dotson, Hezonja

Knicks coach David Fizdale has enjoyed the presence of Kristaps Porzingis at practice and games, with Porzingis still months away from a potential return to the court after tearing his ACL in February.

Porzingis, 23, has mostly been away from the team rehabbing his injury, but was at Madison Square Garden when the Knicks took on Boston Saturday night. He sat on the bench supporting his teammates and was available for advice when needed.

“It’s good for his mindset,” Fizdale said, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley (Twitter link). “When you’re out that long and you’re dealing with injury and you’re dealing with, (you think) ‘if I don’t come back the same and man I can’t even play and these guys are having fun and competing’ and all of that. For him to be around helps. 

“It’s very easy to go into some depression if you stay away from the team when you’re going through something that big. So I think it’s really good for him. I know it’s good for us. The young guys look to him for advice. And for encouragement. And he sees the game very clearly. The film sessions have been fantastic with him. Just him taking over the film sessions and (saying) hey, we have to do this, do this. I know he needs that right now. To feel connected and like I said he’s been fantastic from that point. Totally engaged.” 

There’s more out of New York today:

  • Kevin Knox sustained a sprained left ankle in Saturday’s game against the Celtics, an MRI confirmed. Knox is set to be re-evaluated in one week and won’t make the team’s upcoming two-game road trip.
  • The sudden injury to Knox will free up minutes for young forward Damyean Dotson, Peter Botte of The New York Post contends. Dotson scored 20 points on 4-8 shooting last game, with coach David Fizdale later telling reporters, “I told him this. I told him all through preseason — I trust the kid — ‘You’re a player. You’re exactly what we’re looking for in a player.’ And he earned the right to get on the court. I’m really happy how he kept himself ready, real professional approach.”
  • Former Knicks executive Clarence Gaines Jr. ripped Mario Hezonja following the team’s loss to Boston, tweeting that Hezonja is a “huge liability as an individual defender” (link). Knicks general manager Scott Perry is a longtime Hezonja supporter, with Gaines Jr. being a former right-hand man to Phil Jackson during his time with the Knicks.
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