Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Kristaps Porzingis injury: Celtics big man will need surgery after playing Game 5, winning NBA Finals

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Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis made his return from a rare lower leg injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks and earned his first championship ring. However, Porzingis is far from healed and will require surgery, followed by a “few months” of recovery, according to ESPN.

“A lot of effort went into all of this and also for myself, just being hurt and trying to push through it,” Porzingis said while celebrating in the locker room.  “I think today was the pinnacle of that. My leg is not great, but I gave everything I could to the team and we are the world champs.”

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla had said pregame that Porzingis was further along in his recovery than he was on Friday and was not going to be on minutes restriction, despite not playing since getting hurt late in Game 2. Porzingis came off the bench on Monday and gave his team five points and one rebound in 16 minutes. While he was a +5 in the box score, it was clear that Porzingis was playing compromised. 

Porzingis was excellent in the first two games, averaging 16 points, five rebounds and 2.5 blocks, and the team was +25 in his 44 minutes. His shooting ability allowed the Celtics to play their favored five-out style and put the Mavericks in a tough spot defensively. On the other end, he was the team’s lone true rim protector, and made the Mavericks think when he’s out there. 

The 7-foot-2 Latvian missed the majority of the Eastern Conference playoffs after straining his calf in Game 4 of the Celtics’ first-round series versus the Miami Heat, but returned for Game 1 of the Finals. Unfortunately for him and the Celtics, he went down again late in Game 2 with a “torn medial retinaculum, allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon” in his left leg

Thanks in large part to Porzingis’ efforts early in the series, the Celtics built a 3-0 lead and, after bouncing back from a Game 4 loss, they pulled off their first title win since 2008 and their 18th in franchise history.

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