Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Thomas, Durant, Knox

The Knicks will wait until February to make a decision on Kristaps Porzingis‘ playing status, but teammate Lance Thomas tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that the Latvian star can’t wait to get back on the court. Porzingis is still recovering from an ACL tear last February, and Thomas offers behind-the-scenes insight into his rehab efforts.

“He’s working really hard, man,’’ Thomas said. “He’s in there before everybody. He’s there when everybody leaves. While we practice, he just has that itch. You can just tell — seeing us compete so hard in practice. He comes to me and says, ‘Man, I can’t wait. I got the itch.’ He grabs a basketball on the side and starts dribbling it. He’s working really hard. I know he’s very anxious getting back on the court.”

Team president Steve Mills provided an update on Porzingis’ condition Friday, explaining that he has started doing 45-minute, one-on-one drills with coaches. The team plans to gradually increase his activity level until he can participate in full practices, hopefully before re-examining him in mid-February. He is expected to have a minutes restriction of about 20 per game if he does return.

“I would love to [play with him this season],’’ Thomas said. “He’s been [my] teammate since he’s been in the NBA. I would love nothing more than to be able to lace it up with him again. He also needs to do what’s best for him. It’s an injury you don’t want to mess around with, especially the type of year he had right before it, an All-Star caliber year. We want to make sure he comes back and he’s confident with all his movements and mentally carefree.”

There’s more today from New York:

  • The Knicks are preparing to make an aggressive run at Kevin Durant next summer, according to Frank Isola of The Athletic. Isola states that Durant will be the team’s top target in free agency, and several league executives at last week’s G League Showcase believe New York will be in the running to sign him. Isola’s comments come as part of an examination of Mills and how he has been able to survive with the organization.
  • Kevin Knox appears to have worked through his first experience with the “rookie wall,” writes Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press. Knox has rediscovered his scoring touch, pouring in 20.3 PPG over the past seven games. “I knew at some point it was going to kick back in for him, I just didn’t know when, and now we’re seeing the kid that we thought we had,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “The kid’s talented. He’ll hit some more pitfalls this year, that’s just part of the deal, but the one thing that’s encouraging is that he’s starting to see things a lot more clear and do some things that can be determined as big-time.”
  • The Knicks are the latest franchise to emphasize the importance of players getting enough sleep, relays Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.
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