David Chao, MD: Porzingis’ Season Is Over, Regardless of Mavericks Results

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Kristaps Porzingis was announced as out for the rest of the first round, but the reality is he is done for the season.

In my medical opinion, there is no way he will play the rest of the playoffs regardless of the Mavericks advancing to the next round. In fact, he is likely headed for surgery.

With the reported lateral meniscus tear, Dallas cannot take a chance on their future as he is the “Robin” to Luka Doncic’s “Batman”. The cartilage tear apparently happened Game 1 vs Clippers and he performed well for several games before missing Games 4 and 5. 

The meniscus is a cartilage pad that provides cushion and helps prevent arthritis. Given that Porzingis is 25 (and Doncic is 21), this pair is the franchise’s future and I doubt the team would risk anything. Due to poor blood flow, tears here do not heal well like a paper cut that doesn’t bleed. Once damaged, the tear can more easily get bigger like the propagation of the crack in the Liberty Bell. The best solution is a menisectomy to trim back to normal meniscus.

The Mavericks have to be even more careful given the less common lateral meniscus tear.

The cartilage on the outside of the knee takes more force and thus more long-term risk of injury and arthritis as opposed the medial (inside) of the knee. Being 7′ 3″ also has its force vector challenges. Previously I have written about a similar circumstance with Zion Williamson and potential long term affects. 

The team already knows all of this analysis, it likely is getting second opinions before making the formal announcement. Besides, putting off the declaration that the “unicorn” is done for the season gives fans and teammates hope as they try down 3-2 to win two straight versus the Clippers to advance. Even if they do, it will be without Porzingis.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.


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