New York Knicks Kristaps Porzingis Injury Discussion

The New York Knicks lost their best player on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. He tore his ACL following a dunk. While the angles are tough to see if there was a brief extension movement that caused the tear but you could tell immediately when he grabbed his knee that it was serious.

He’s out for the season and most likely out next year as well, given how late the injury was sustained in the NBA Season. The All-Star Break is this weekend and ACL injuries can start at 10-12 months recovery if not longer.


Anatomy Review:

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) connects the femur to the tibia. It helps prevent excessive hyperextension of the knee and also prevents forward translation of the tibia about the femur. Comparatively to the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), it’s much thinner, which is a reason why it is more commonly damaged, but also because the mechanism of injury is more common than that of PCL mechanism of injury.

ACL Injuries are usually due to one of the following:

  • forceful extension or hyperextension of the knee
  • direct blow to the knee in extension
  • non-contact – foot planted with “marked” tibial rotation (valgus twist)
  • deceleration mechanism of injury


What Could I Do?

Following his surgery, which is scheduled for Tuesday, he’s going to be braced up for several weeks. In terms of the manual component, assisting in his ability to gradually bend his knee will be important.


The manual component will focus on hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip muscles (which includes adductor and abductor muscles).

Initial treatment will target quadriceps and knee extensor control, through isometric then concentric and finally eccentric muscle work. He’ll then transition into reeducation of walking and developing hip strength through open and closed-chained exercises.

It’ll be about 28-32 weeks (or six months) before he begins to introduce general physical preparedness and even months later before transitioning into basketball-specific training.


My Take:

I believe that Kristaps Porzingis’ recovery will be one of the longer recoveries. ESPN reported the timetable is set for at least 10 months. I believe he’s looking more towards 12-14 months. He’s a much bigger athlete compared to the more recent ACL injuries suffered by basketball players.

Not only was his ACL torn, it has yet to be reported if there was medial meniscus and/or medial collateral ligament (MCL) damage. More commonly known as the “Terrible Triad.”

While many hope he’s able to play in the 2018-2019 second half of the season. I think it may be a bit longer. He wouldn’t come back until this time next year. If the New York Knicks are not in contention for the playoffs next season, is there a point to rush him back just to play for three months? Most likely not. The timetable for his return will be dependent on how he progresses through rehab and if he has any setbacks. He’s 7’1″ power forward, there is always a possibility because of the stresses long bones and levers have on joints. Training tall athletically-gifted people can be a challenge, so rehabbing one is not any easier. He’s a superstar, he needs to be taken care like one when it comes to his rehab.


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