Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis Faces ‘Rare’ Injury During NBA Finals

Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, NBA News
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics star Kristaps Porzingis has been diagnosed with a “rare injury” to his left leg. He is considered questionable for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

On Tuesday, the Celtics revealed that Porzingis has a torn medial retinaculum, which allows for the dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg. His availability for the Finals will be assessed on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s kind of a random situation,” Porzingis said before Tuesday’s practice. “I felt something, and now I have to deal with it. As we said, yeah, it’s going to be day-to-day, and I’ll see how I am tomorrow, and obviously, I’m going to do everything I can to be out there tomorrow, and we’ll see.”

The injury occurred on Sunday, the third quarter of the Celtics’ Game 2 win. Porzingis was seen on Tuesday wearing a sleeve and brace on his left leg and ankle, but he was not on the court during the open portion of Boston’s practice.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Porzingis had just returned for Game 1 of the NBA Finals after missing over five weeks due to a calf strain sustained in the second quarter of Game 4 of Boston’s first-round series against the Miami Heat. He scored 11 points in the first quarter off the bench, his first time in that role as a Celtic, and continued in the same capacity in Game 2.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla stressed that any decision on Porzingis playing will be made by the team’s medical staff, not Porzingis himself, to ensure the player’s health is the priority.

“Yeah, I mean, listen, he’s doing anything and everything he can to be ready for the game tomorrow,” Mazzulla said. “It’s a serious injury. At the end of the day, our team and the medical team is not going to put him in any bad situations. We’ve taken the decision to play out of his hands. … He’s going to do everything he can to play. We’re going to leave it up to our medical team. That’s really it.”

Porzingis admitted uncertainty about the potential consequences of playing with his injury. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I don’t know the specifics. But that’s something I’ll leave in the medical staff’s hands to determine whether I can go or not. But from my side, as I said, nothing is going to stop me unless I’m told I’m not allowed to play. That’s the only reason I would not be out there.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks Updates

If Porzingis cannot play or is limited in Game 3, the impact of Al Horford takes even greater importance, who has remained in Boston’s starting lineup even after Porzingis’ return. The Celtics might also rely on Luke Kornet or Xavier Tillman, their other primary backup centers, which could allow Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving to exploit Boston’s defense. The Celtics have outscored the Mavericks by 25 points in the 44 minutes Porzingis has played and has a neutral scoring differential in 52 minutes when he’s been off the court.

The Celtics have thrived defensively thus far in the series by staying within the game plan and not having to bend much. Porzingis’ rim protection is a significant part of that formula. If he plays and is hampered or doesn’t play altogether, there will be a negative impact on Boston.

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