Boston did not advance in the NBA’s In-Season Tournament on Monday night, losing to the Pacers in the quarterfinals to find themselves eliminated before the whole show moves to Las Vegas for the semis. But that was not the big Boston Celtics news of the day. That distinction belonged to the Kristaps Porzingis injury, a calf problem that has kept the big man out four games since it happened on November 24 against Orlando.
Porzingis, according to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, is nearing a return from the injury, and could be back in the lineup on Friday when the Celtics play the loser of the Bucks vs. Knicks game on Tuesday.
In a pair of posts on Twitter/X, Wojnarowski wrote, citing sources:
“There’s optimism Boston Celtics C Kristaps Porzingis (calf strain) will return to lineup this week. Porzingis is out for In Season Tourney quarters vs. Indiana Monday, but there’s increasing confidence he’ll be back in Vegas for IST Final 4 should Celtics advance. … So far, no setbacks in his recovery and hope is that continues and allows for return this week. He’s averaging 18.9 points and 6.7 rebounds this season.”
Joe Mazzulla Updates Kristaps Porzingis Injury
When he was asked about the status of the Kristaps Porzingis injury, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was duly cautious, and said he was still uncertain when his big man might return.
“He’s been on the court shooting,” Mazzulla said. “I don’t think he’s done anything up and down yet. I think that’s coming in the next couple of days.”
The Celtics had won three in a row despite not having Porzingis, beating the Hawks, Bulls and Sixers at home before losing in Indiana. He has played well this season and his impending return is especially good Celtics news for a team that is looking to stack up some wins before its West Coast trip later in the month.
The Celtics have back-to-back games at home against the Cavaliers next week, followed by back-to-back games against Boston’s newly minted rivals, the Magic, which have beaten the Celtics four straight times.
Any KP Injury is Worrisome Celtics News
Any time Kristaps Porzingis suffers an injury, of course, it is especially worrying Celtics news because of his less-than-stellar history with bumps and bruises. His inability to stay on the court has been the story of Porzingis’ nine-year career. He suffered an ACL tear in his third season—when he had a breakout year and earned an All-Star spot—and has not been an every-night player since.
Heading into his Celtics career, Porzingis had played in 216 out of 311 games since tearing his ACL, missing just a bit more than 30% of all outings, not including missing all of 2018-19.
Still, Porzingis is arguably the most important X-factor for the Celtics. He is, essentially, a No. 3 or 4 option after Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and alongside Jrue Holiday. He is also, with Luke Kornet, the only 7-footer on the Celtics roster, and thus, an important part of the team’s ability to guard the paint and protect the rim.
Porzingis is averaging 1.7 blocks this season. The Celtics have a blocked-shot percentage of 11.3% when Porzingis is on the floor and 9.6% when he is off it. Defensively, according to Basketball-Reference.com, the Celtics allow 109.7 points per 100 possessions when Porzingis is off the floor and 107.9 points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor.
His return would most certain be welcome Celtics news.