Highlights: Knicks 98, Wizards 89
The Wizards are probably doing the right thing by underselling the return of Otto Porter to the court.
Hyping his return only could put undue pressure on the rookie, the No. 3 overall draft pick in June who missed a lot of time during the summer with a right hamstring pull. And it only serves to agitate the fan base when he's not delivered -- even if vaguely promised.
Kobe Bryant tore his left Achilles in April and has been insisting that his will could speed the healing process and he could play opening night. But despite claims that he "shattered" the timetable he isn't close. (Side note: Ray Lewis thought he could speed up healing in coming back from a torn triceps for the Baltimore Ravens by sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, among other gimmicks. Didn't work. He missed the rest of the regular season. As one surgeon told me at the time, "You can't speed up healing.")
Still, there could be an update -- though who knows if it'll be positive -- about Porter (right hip flexor strain) after Saturday's fifth preseason game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans in Lexington, Ky.
"I don't have any idea," coach Randy Wittman said when asked if Porter has made any progress Friday. "I think he's getting another look when we get back from the doctor so hopefully we'll have an update Monday."
Luckily for the Wizards, their playoff hopes don't hinge on Porter so they can afford to take their time with Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza ahead of him at small forward.
What's the point of hype to gain headlines and have surgeons and physicians declaring that Porter is super-human only to have him under-perform?
While that'll gain attention in the short-term, it becomes problematic for all parties involved in the long-term.
Eric Maynor could've played vs. the Miami Heat earlier in the week, but he sat because his left Achilles was sore. Garrett Temple could've played Thursday vs. the New York Knicks but didn't because of an infected cut on his shooting arm. Both were precautionary.
Wittman put into context the mind-set of the Wizards when asked about Maynor earlier in the week: "Any time a player has a concern like that, with the history we have here, we got to take that (seriously)."
So unless the results that Porter's injury is worse than expected, relax. Better to undersell than overhype.
And if it takes longer, so be it. It's no disrespect to Porter, but if the Wizards can't make the playoffs because he's not playing now then they never were going to be a playoff team anyway. Porter should be just the icing on the cake.