Coach Randy Wittman knew that Otto Porter Jr. was doing more basketball related stuff, but he wasn’t certain when the No. 3 overall pick would actually step on the court to practice. On Monday, Wittman got his answer when the Wizards training staff informed him that Porter was ready to go.
“I was pleasantly surprised that it was today,” Wittman said.
Porter, the former all-American from Georgetown, has been sidelined with a strained right hip flexor since slipping during a pickup game on Sept. 14. He missed all of training camp and the preseason and his absence caused a panic among fans of the Wizards and Hoyas. The 6-foot-9 Porter understood those frustrations but he had to be patient with his recovery.
“One of your players go down hurt, you want to know how he’s doing day-to-day. It’s a lot of work you’ve got to put into it,” Porter said. “It was frustrating at times, where I felt like I was getting ready to go over that hump and something else kind of knocked me back down.”
Wittman said Porter “looked like he’s been out three and a half months” but wanted to see how far along he is and get a taste of some live action. “He’s got to get out there now and get his legs under him from a conditioning standpoint, number 1. number 2, getting familiar with what we’re doing. It’s easy to sit there and think as you’re watching, what’s going on. But now, as it’s game speed and action, so he’s not very familiar yet with what we’re doing. That’s going to be a big key for him to get out, repetition, conditioning, because the last thing you want to do is throw him out and he gets hurt again. Those are kind of things you stay away from. You’ve got to get him in shape and see what happens.”
Singleton has been sidelined since suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot in late September. Wittman said Singleton is further along conditioning-wise but he would be patient with bringing along both players.
“Guys have been out as long as they have, you’ve got to be smart with these things and make sure that we’re getting them, where their legs are under them, before we throw them to the wolves,” Wittman said.
Trevor Ariza returned to practice for the first time since he strained his right hamstring on Nov. 12 in San Antonio. The Wizards have gone 3-2 in his absence but Wittman said Ariza will start against the Los Angeles Lakers.