Kristaps Porzingis doesn't know when he'll return to action, but he's confident that when he does, he'll be better than ever.
"I believe that I'm going to come back better and stronger," the New York Knicks power forward said Tuesday in his first public address since he suffered a torn left ACL on Feb. 6, according to ESPN's Ian Begley.
While there's no timetable for his return, ESPN reports it won't come sooner than 10 months after his ACL surgery on Feb. 13. Porzingis has been staying positive and progressing well in his recovery. The versatile 7-foot-3 phenom added he's using his time off to not only heal his knee but to strengthen the rest of his body and his mind.
"Not only just getting bigger and stronger but just my movement, my body, the way my body moves and all those things. That's going to be big for me also because of how long I am," he said. "So I think I don't know how many months I have, (but) I'm going to use it as efficiently as I can to come back as a better player and also work on my mind ... and come back sharp."
Porzingis was having the best campaign of his career and earned his first All-Star nod prior to going down. He averaged a career-high 22.7 points on 43.9 percent shooting from the field and 39.3 from long distance to go along with 6.6 boards, 1.2 assists, and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game. The 22-year-old gave his club a shot at making the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Without their star player, though, the Knicks sputtered as expected and even reportedly changed their game plan for the trade deadline, dashing plans to give the roster a boost for a playoff push and instead focusing on rebuilding for the future. New York has lost all but one game in 13 tries without The Unicorn and is on the brink of elimination.
Porzingis will become eligible for a five-year, $157-million extension this offseason.