NEW YORK -- Kristaps Porzingis thought he would go right back into the game when he hurt his knee last month.
Now he's not sure when he can play again.
Porzingis said Tuesday there is no timetable for his return from a torn left ACL that will keep him out the remainder of this season and at least some of the next.
The 7-foot-3 All-Star forward was hurt upon landing after a dunk against Milwaukee on Feb. 6. He said there was sharp pain when the injury happened, but that he quickly felt better.
"I got up, I started walking a little bit, it felt better with every step, so once I got to the locker room I was like, 'Can I go back in the game?"' he said. "I almost felt that good."
"I thought it was like a sprain honestly. I didn't feel it pop, I didn't feel anything. So once it happened on the floor I was trying to get back in as soon as possible, because I thought I don't want to be on the floor too long. It's just a sprain. But then I got the bad news."
That came at the hospital, where tests confirmed the torn ligament. He underwent surgery and said he is keeping a positive mindset in his recovery, already working on his upper body strength while rehabilitating the knee.
"I was shocked at first. I couldn't believe that it happened to me, and then about 30 seconds later I said, 'OK, what can I do now?"' Porzingis said. "Now it's just time for me to make a comeback and then I focused on the next thing, and that was prepare myself for the surgery."
May we all have somebody as happy to see us as Kyle O’Quinn was to see Kristaps Porzingis. pic.twitter.com/jtIs1OBzF6— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) March 13, 2018
Porzingis made his first appearance back at Madison Square Garden since the injury. He was welcomed back during pregame warmups, receiving a big ovation before the Knicks lost 110-97 to Dallas, falling for the 16th time in 17 games -- nearly all of the losses since Porzingis' injury.
"It was great seeing his presence in the locker room. We appreciate him here," teammate Kyle O'Quinn said. "It is good to see someone you haven't seen in a while and to see him in good spirits. It warms the heart."