Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis (back) hasn’t played since February 14, but sounds likely to return on Saturday vs. Brooklyn after going through a full practice on Friday, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
Porzingis also addressed the trade rumors that surfaced this week, telling reporters he’s not sure what’s happening “behind the scenes,” and that it’s out of his control. Team owner Mark Cuban and other members of the Mavs organization adamantly denied discussing Porzingis with any other teams.
“I shouldn’t be too worried about it,” Porzingis said. “It can only distract me at the end of the day. I try to focus on being in the moment, being here day to day and putting in the work with my teammates and getting better as a basketball player.”
As Porzingis readies for his return to court, here are a few injury- and protocol-related updates on other players:
- After missing four games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Lakers guard Dennis Schröder has been cleared to return and is back in the starting lineup on Friday night, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
- Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham is out for a fourth consecutive game tonight due to a sore left knee, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Head coach James Borrego acknowledged earlier in the week that Graham may not be able to return prior to the All-Star break.
- The back spasms that have kept Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. on the shelf for the last 12 games will keep him sidelined through the All-Star break, head coach Billy Donovan said on Friday, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. The team also isn’t expecting Lauri Markkanen (shoulder) back until sometime after the break.