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Kristaps Porziņģis day-to-day with a leg injury ahead of game 3 of the NBA Finals

Lawrence Dow, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Basketball

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis during the 2019 season they imagined him as a key piece that would help the franchise advance to its first NBA Finals since 2011.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, it’s exactly the role Porzingis has been for the Boston Celtics this season and through the first two games of the finals. On offense, he’s been a matchup nightmare, single-handily outscoring the Mavs’ bench 32-29.

However, injuries have hampered Porzingis in Boston, like in Dallas, and his availability for Game 3 on Wednesday is in question.

Porzingis is day-to-day after suffering a torn medial retinaculum which caused a dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg in the third quarter of Game 2. The injury is unrelated to the right calf injury suffered by Porzingis earlier in the postseason.

This season Porzingis averaged 20.1 points with 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Boston.

Porzingis was drafted as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, where he played the first three seasons of his career, before being traded to the Mavs after recovering from a torn ACL.

Injuries affected the Latvian forward and missed double-digit games due to injuries in both seasons while struggling to mesh with Luka Doncic. Porzingis was traded to the Washington Wizards in February of 2022 where he played until the Celtics traded for him in a three-team deal that sent out Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, and picks to the Washington Wizards, and fan-favorite Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

On Tuesday, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla spoke on the severity of Porzingis’ injury and the treatment he’ll receive.

“He’s doing anything and everything he can to be ready for the game tomorrow. It’s a serious injury and at the end of the day, our team and the medical team is not gonna put him in any bad situations,” said Mazzulla, “And so, we’ve taken a decision to play out of his hands because of the importance of him.”

Jayson Tatum acknowledged Porzingis’ impact but says he knows the 7-footer is doing everything possible to play.

“Seven-foot-four unicorn, right? He’s as talented as they come, presents so many matchup problems on the offensive end and then on the defensive, right, somebody that can affect shots, protect the rim as well as he does. So yes, we’ve had success in found ways to win without him and obviously, we’re better when he’s on the team when he’s out there playing with us,” said Tatum, "He’s day-to-day and doing everything he can to get out there and give us whatever he can.”

The Celtics are two games away from winning their first title since the 2008 season and Jaylen Brown said the team is focused on winning with whoever is available.

“KP has been tremendous for our group, not just in the playoffs, but all season long, and obviously him on the floor just helps elevate us to a different level,” said Brown, “But we’ve been priding ourselves on the next minute up mentality. We prepare for these moments to be able to play with and without anyone.

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