At the conclusion of the Washington Wizards’ first training camp session on Saturday at George Mason’s Patriot Center, Otto Porter Jr. stepped on the floor and starting shooting stand-still jumpers. Unfortunately for Porter, that was the most action that the third overall pick from Georgetown was allowed to get.
“No moving. Keep that to a minimum,” said Porter, who is sidelined with a right hip flexor as camp began.
Porter said he injured himself during a pickup game at Verizon Center a few weeks ago when he slipped on the court, and couldn’t offer a hint to his return. He added that the injury isn’t serious and that he would be day-to-day.
During Friday’s media day, Porter didn’t hint at a possible setback. But Porter couldn’t deny being hurt Saturday as he got stretched out on a table and rode on a stationary bike while his teammates were going over defensive drills and schemes with Coach Randy Wittman.
“It occurred recently, you know, just playing. Something just twist[ed],” Porter said of the injury. “But nothing major, though. I’m going to take it day by day, see how it feels.”
Wittman said the Wizards plan to be cautious with Porter and won’t rush him back on the court before he is ready. The injury “has been bothering him for a couple of weeks and he’s got to get himself well. He’s missing a lot of valuable time out here, in terms of what he’s been limited to. So I mean, we’ve got to be smart with it. We need to get him healthy as soon as we can.”
The Wizards already entered training camp without starting center Emeka Okafor, who is out with a herniated disk in his neck, and Chris Singleton, who will miss at least five weeks with a broken left foot. With veterans Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster already signed and another Josh Childress also around, the Wizards weren’t putting much pressure on Porter to produce right away.
But as a rookie, Porter was especially disappointed that he was forced to be a spectator as a critical time for his development. “You definitely want to be out there, but you also want to learn from the side. Cheer them on, tell them to keep on playing, but that’s the best I can do,” Porter said. “It actually felt good to see the different drills and things like that, that we’re going to do, so I can get accustomed to them.”
Porter dealt with a right hamstring injury that limited him during NBA summer league, but said that there was no correlation to his latest ailment. He appeared in just three games in Las Vegas before having to get shut down for the final two contests.
On Friday, Porter admitted that the injury contributed to him having an underwhelming performance: “It did affect me to where I couldn’t run or anything like that.”
Second-year guard Bradley Beal agreed that the first days of training camp are important but he advised Porter to take his time coming back.
“He can’t really do anything cause he’s injured and we have to accept that. He has to accept it and not try it rush back,” he said. “That’s the last thing he should want to do, just come back when he’s ready cause he’s going to have plenty of time. He has 82 games, he has preseason games he has – hopefully has – training camp to come back in here and just work his way into it. It was important for me last year because I felt like everybody was hurt last year so I felt as though I had to step up and just … I was kind of thrown into the fire so to speak but he has a role where he can just come in and relax and just have fun and just play ball.”