As long as Otto Porter Jr. has played in the NBA, he has dealt with hip pain. Even before his first training camp practice as a rookie with the Washington Wizards in 2013, the swingman was experiencing issues in the area. After claiming the full-time starting job in 2015-16, Porter missed four games that January because of a hip injury. Last year, he played through soreness in what turned out to be a breakout season.
On Monday, the Wizards and Porter returned to pain management. Porter, who missed Saturday night’s game while dealing with hip pain and back tightness, participated in the team’s low-activity portions of practice, offensive sets and three-on-two scrimmaging. Porter left the court for the five-on-five scrimmage.
Coach Scott Brooks indicated that Porter’s status for Wednesday’s home game against the Utah Jazz would be determined by how he looks in the team’s next practice Tuesday.
“Hopefully [he] comes back [Tuesday] and feels great and practices,” Brooks said. “I can’t say for sure [if Porter will be ready to play against the Jazz]. He did go through half the practice [Monday], which is a good sign.”
While every player on the roster has his own set of lingering issues to manage — Markieff Morris’s ankles, John Wall’s left knee — the Wizards have attempted to find small ways to alleviate Porter’s pain. Last season, Porter was one of the most durable Wizards, only missing two games, but needed a practice off early in the season while dealing with hip soreness. Last January, he began consistently riding a stationary bike during games every time he was not on the floor — a routine that an injured player might do to stay loose.
“Our job is to try to keep all the players healthy and fresh throughout the year,” Brooks said. “Each guy has things that we work on and isolate and specialize in certain areas. There’s no question with Otto, we’re always working on his flexibility and his core so he can play like last year [when] he played most of the season. Hopefully this season he’ll do the same.”
The chronic issue did not scare the Wizards from matching the maximum contract offer Porter received in free agency last summer, and it took 36 games into this season for him to experience the double whammy of hip and back soreness, which were painful enough to force him to miss a matchup. Despite the issues, Porter ranks eighth in the league in three-point shooting percentage and has seven double-doubles.
“He’s missed a couple of games here and there,” Brooks said, referencing unrelated ailments that forced Porter out of the lineup this season. “Nothing to be overly concerned, but we like to have him on the court as much as he can.”
Wizards recall Devin Robinson from the G League
For his effort in Delaware, rookie Devin Robinson has earned a trip to Washington.
On Monday, Robinson, who will spend the majority of the season in the G League, rejoined the Wizards for what will be a brief stint during the team’s homestand this week. Robinson has played in 22 games for the Delaware 87ers, averaging 13.5 points and 5.0 rebounds.
“Just from all the hard work he’s put in in the G League,” Brooks said, explaining why the team recalled Robinson. “He’s been playing well, playing hard, and all the coaches that he’s playing for [are] very happy with him. The way he’s working, the way he’s practicing. I think he needs to be rewarded.”
After going undrafted but impressing in the NBA Summer League, Robinson started the season with a foot injury and stayed with the Wizards while rehabilitating. Since joining the 87ers, he has showed the depth of his game as a wing player — shooting 52 percent from the floor and developing a steady touch from beyond the three-point arc (40.8 percent).
“I’m real comfortable right now,” Robinson said of his three-point shot. “Coming out of college, it was tough. I was like, I don’t know how guys shoot this at a high level. [I’m] shooting air balls left and right, you know, but I’m real comfortable now. I figured it out — mechanics. Now it’s all about repetition.”
Robinson’s call-up is not related to Porter’s injury, Brooks said. Rather, the team wanted to get Robinson around its coaching staff and see more of his development up close.
“He just needs experience,” Brooks said. “I think he has a chance to be an NBA player for a long time. Our job is to work with him and keep developing him, and hopefully that can happen.”
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