Wizards lose forward Otto Porter Jr. to left leg injury
WASHINGTON (AP) — Forward Otto Porter Jr. missed a must-win Game 6 for the Washington Wizards in their playoff series against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night because of an injured left leg.
“It’s hard on him,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s hard on all of us.”
The No. 8 seed Wizards entered Friday trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series. They announced a few hours before the scheduled tipoff that Porter is sidelined indefinitely after having a medical procedure earlier Friday to prevent permanent damage to muscles in the leg because of compartment syndrome.
Porter has averaged only 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists while making just five 3-pointers during the playoffs.
He was Washington’s third-leading scorer during the regular season, behind John Wall and Bradley Beal, averaging a career-high 14.7 points, along with 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He was third in the NBA in 3-point field-goal percentage at 44.1, another personal best.
“He hasn’t got a lot of things going offensively,” Brooks said. “But I always felt that, any day now, he was going to have a bust-out game. It’s not going to happen.”
Top reserve Kelly Oubre Jr. moved into Washington’s starting lineup to take Porter’s spot.
Brooks said he also expected Tomas Satoransky and Ty Lawson to see increased minutes off the bench.
“You hate to hear that about a young man, to go down like that,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said about Porter, “but they have a lot of guys that can step in and play that role.”
Porter received a max contract last offseason, when he was a restricted free agent and the Wizards ended up matching the Brooklyn Nets’ $106 million, four-year offer sheet for the forward.
That came after Porter set career bests of 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and a 3-point shooting percentage of 43.4.
The Wizards drafted Porter third overall in 2013 out of Georgetown.
Oubre has been averaging 10.6 points and 4.0 rebounds in the series, along with playing active defense.
He was going to draw the tough assignment of guarding DeMar DeRozan in Game 6; Toronto’s All-Star guard came into Friday putting up 28.8 points per game.
But the Wizards also could use some better shooting from Oubre, who has been making only 41.5 percent of his field-goal attempts, including 3 for 16 — 19 percent — on 3-pointers.
“He’s going to get opportunities. Hopefully he can knock some shots down to get some confidence. He hasn’t shot the ball well for a while,” Brooks said. “But he does a lot of other things. He’s aggressive. He’s an emotional player. He gives us a spark that way, and now he’s going to have to start the game with that same intensity he gives us off the bench.”
NOTE: Casey said backup PG Fred VanVleet would be available. VanVleet has been dealing with an injured right shoulder and appeared in only one game in the series.
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