A fairly innocuous update on Kristaps Porzingis‘ ACL rehab from Knicks head coach David Fizdale on Thursday prompted a response from Porzingis himself, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays.
After Fizdale suggested that Porzingis hadn’t made significant progress since training camp and was still just doing light jogging work, the big man – apparently frustrated by the perception that his recovery was moving slowly – published Instagram photos that showed him sprinting on an outdoor track.
Speaking today to reporters, including ESPN’s Ian Begley, Fizdale explained that he wasn’t aware Porzingis had started sprinting, since the 23-year-old has been working with his own physiotherapist and hasn’t been rehabbing exclusively in the Knicks’ practice facility. According to the Knicks’ head coach, he touched base with Porzingis this morning and they’re now on the same page.
“We had a great talk about it,” Fizdale said. “I think how he took (media reports of Fizdale’s comments on Thursday) was that people thought he wasn’t busting his hump, he took it personally. It got to him that people would think that. … I think maybe when he heard me say, ‘Hey, we’re taking it slow’ and all of that stuff — that’s what we’re doing — but at the same time he (doesn’t) want people thinking that he’s not busting his hump, because he’s killing it.”
While a slight misunderstanding involving a player and his coach hardly qualifies as a major story (even in New York), the communication between Porzingis and Fizdale, who quickly resolved the issue, is a good sign for a Knicks franchise that has been plagued by dysfunction in recent years. Under another coach, it’s possible that similar comments could have ballooned into a larger problem and created resentment between the franchise and its star, who will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2019. Fizdale wants to make sure that sort of thing doesn’t happen under his watch.
“With this group of people that we got here right now, our agendas are on point. Everybody’s coming from a good place. So why let things linger?” Fizdale said, per Begley. “That’s how stuff ends up festering into a real problem. It’s all usually some miscommunication or a misunderstanding and something you could’ve hashed out as an adult right there. So I stress that to all of these guys, handle stuff face to face. Eye-to-eye communication. Get it over with.”