Posted October 29, 2013

Wizards coach Randy Wittman on injured Otto Porter Jr.: ‘I don’t know who he is’

Otto Porter Jr., Randy Wittman, Rob Mahoney, Washington Wizards
Wizards coach Randy Wittman (left) says he "hasn't coached" No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter Jr. yet. (Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

Wizards coach Randy Wittman (left) is at a loss regarding Otto Porter Jr.’s timetable for return. (Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Wizards resolved one major injury issue when they acquired Marcin Gortat from the Suns for Emeka Okafor, who is out indefinitely with a herniated disk in his neck. But Washington still has another rotation player sidelined for the foreseeable future.

No. 3 pick Otto Porter Jr. still has no timetable for a return from the strained right hip flexor he sustained in September. His absence isn’t as pressing as Okafor’s was because of his status as a reserve rookie wing as opposed to a crucial interior defender, but it’s a snag in Washington’s rotation all the same.

The Wizards don’t have clarity about Porter’s availability, even more than a month removed from his initial diagnosis. Wizards coach Randy Wittman reflected on that subject with surprising candor in an interview with “The Sports Junkies” show on 106.7 The Fan in Washington (via SB Nation). When asked when he expects Porter to return from an injury for which he has been listed as day-to-day, Wittman noted that he would “like to know that, too.” Wittman clarified that the injury wasn’t necessarily worse than initially thought, but merely the kind of nagging, persistent problem that’s difficult to chart in recovery:

“I mean it’s a lingering thing, a hip flexor thing is, you know, it’s just something, it takes time. He’s frustrated with it. We just gotta be patient and let this thing heal so it’s not a thing that lingers throughout the season. It’s disappointing, but I know he’s disappointed so we just have to be patient with that, and hopefully hear soon and we can get him out on the floor.”

In discussing Porter in more general terms, Wittman said the following:

“I don’t know who he is and have not had a chance to coach him yet. He’s not been able to step on the floor one day yet.”

All of which is fair and true given Porter’s unavailability, but a surprisingly blunt way to characterize a player who has now been a part of the Wizards’ organization for more than four months. Porter played three games for Washington’s Las Vegas Summer League team in July before a hamstring injury cut short his appearance, and he suffered the hip injury after resuming basketball activity.

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