Otto Porter Jr. said he will “probably” be a game-time decision when the Wizards host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at Verizon Center. Porter has been sidelined since mid-September because of a strained right hip flexor and recently began practicing with the team in preparation for his long-anticipated NBA debut.
“Not yet,” Porter said at the morning shoot-around, when asked if he was ready to say that he would play against Milwaukee. “I feel decent. I only had two practices. Hopefully, I can get more in soon and get more acclimated to the team and what we’re trying to do.”
Coach Randy Wittman said Porter, the third overall pick from Georgetown last June, has looked good in practice this week aside from the expected problems with conditioning. Porter has been patient with his recovery process but doesn’t want to come back before he feels ready.
Porter has tried to stay reserved when it comes to possibly putting on his uniform for the first time.
“When you sit out for three months, not playing something that you love to do, of course, you’re going to have mixed emotions about it, being excited about being back out there, but you don’t want to show it,” Porter said. “You’ve just got to prove it to yourself. I missed this long, you want to make sure you’re 100 percent. I want to give 100 percent when I’m out there.”
If he does play, the wiry, 6-foot-8 Porter would be used in a reserve role for the Wizards (9-9), who have won seven of the past nine games. Wittman has no intention of giving him heavy minutes right away.
There is no need to rush back Porter. The Wizards will not play again until Monday against Denver and have three more days to prepare for a back-to-back set against Atlanta and the Los Angeles Clippers.
“The most important thing for him right now is to get his endurance up,” Martell Webster said. “There is nothing like playing 94 feet up and down and having to slide side to side, take off again. You can’t emulate that with rehab. If I had to say anything to him, it’s take his time. there is no rush, but I know he wants to get back out there.”
Al Harrington (sore right knee) plans to come back soon and Bradley Beal (right fibula) will be evaluated early next week, which should help bolster the league’s least productive second unit.
“It’s more mental than anything,” Porter said of the adjustment. “Being out for three [months], you’ve got to get your body back, now you’ve got to mentally get back in tune. That’s something I have to deal with. Try to get mentally prepared for the game.
“Since I’m out there now, instead of just thinking about the game, it’s going out there and doing it,” he said. “That’s something that I have to get in tune with.”