When Otto Porter Jr. put on a Washington Wizards cap as the No. 3 pick in last June’s NBA draft, there was no way he could have imagined what awaited him in his rookie season, that it would be put on hold because of a hip injury and that he would rarely get the chance to learn through his mistakes during games, just as John Wall and Bradley Beal — the team’s previous top-three picks — did in their first seasons.

“With injuries and stuff, it is different than what I thought,” Porter, 20, said Thursday as the Wizards prepared to host the Chicago Bulls on Friday at Verizon Center.

ut that’s the position in which Porter finds himself, backing up two veteran players at small forward and trying to make the most of perfunctory minutes that have all but disappeared during the Wizards’ two-game winning streak.

Porter, an all-American at Georgetown, didn’t see any action in the Wizards’ 102-88 win over Chicago on Monday, when Coach Randy Wittman decided to implement an eight-man rotation, and got on the court for 54 seconds in the team’s 114-97 upset of the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday.

If he could go back in time one year and offer one bit of advice about what to expect in the NBA, Porter said he would tell his 19-year-old self, “It doesn’t matter how early it is or how late it is, you’re going to have ups and downs, but you have to be patient and you have to continue to work.”

And that’s what Porter has done during his rookie season that has been somewhat equivalent to a redshirt campaign in college, with him observing, studying and learning what it takes to be a professional. He missed out on training camp and the first month of the regular season with a right hip flexor injury and never had a chance to compete for minutes. Trevor Ariza, a nine-year veteran is having the best season of his career, and Martell Webster is coming off his best season, which earned him a four-year, $22 million contract last summer.