The obvious question surrounding Marcin Gortat's sudden return to the court is, "How?" Because of lower back pain, he wasn't able to play in Thursday's loss at the Portland Trail Blazers and the outlook for the rest of this West coast trip seemed bleak.
But Gortat not only played Friday at the Los Angeles Lakers, he started and contributed 13 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in a 117-107 victory.
Gortat went to a local orthopedic to solve it. Lower back pain often is connected to problems in the legs, and vice versa. Both have various trigger points so while the pain may be flaring up in one area, it's actually centered elsewhere. It appears something similar happened with Gortat.
"The whole credit goes to my man Mark Cheng. He actually just rubbed my knee and my calf and the pain went away," Gortat said after the game as Cheng was in the locker room. "I don’t know how he did that. I never seen stuff like that in my entire life. Literally in 45 minutes he fixed me to the point where I could play. ... I'm grateful for everything he did."
The Wizards (36-33) missed Gortat's 6-11 frame in Portland but he should be available to play Sunday's game at the Denver Nuggets (CSN, 5 p.m. ET). It will be the last game of this trip and third in four days.
"Obviously I wasn’t perfect. I still felt a little stiffness," said Gortat, who held back Jordan Hill of the Lakers late in the fourth quarter as Drew Gooden and Nick Young started a scuffle. "But then when I get worked up, I started feeling better and my agility and movement were perfect."