Celtics Get Major Update on Troubling Kristaps Porzingis Injury

Celtics star Kristaps Porzingis

Getty Celtics star Kristaps Porzingis

It could be worse. For Celtics fans, there is at least that. Kristaps Porzingis suffered an awkward injury on Monday night against the Heat, pulling up in obvious pain with just 2:29 to play before halftime of the team’s Game 4 blowout, a win that granted them a 3-1 series edge going back to Boston.

While no official announcement has been made, it appears that the Celtics have avoided the worst-case scenario, a potential Achilles tendon tear. But that does not leave them out fo the woods–Porzingis has some sort of strain or sprain in his calf, an injury that could leave him on the sidelines for weeks.

As ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday afternoon, “I was told last night that the early estimation that this was not an Achilles injury and certainly, that is always the initial fear when you see a player reach back in that calf/Achilles area.

“But, he is back in Boston, he is still undergoing imaging and the evaluation of that today. And then the Celtics will have a better sense of how severe this train is. Certainly, there are strains that could be a week-to-10 days. Two weeks. There are more severe calf strains, more significant grades, that could be longer than that.”

Kristaps Porzingis a Key to a Championship

Porzingis was acquired a little less than a year ago in a major draft trade that sent point guard Marcus Smart to Memphis and set up Boston with a devastating starting five. Recognizing his history of injury woes–the Celtics would never have been able to add a healthy Porzingis to their mix–Boston was delicate with him all season.

Porzingis played only 57 games but was able to avoid the kind of serious injury he is now feared to have suffered. Porzingis missed only two long stretches, but one was only for four games and the other was for five.

He was brilliant when he did play, giving the Celtics the big-man threat they were looking for, a perimeter shooter who can also set up in the post and dominate in the paint. The Celtics took advantage of Porzingis’ 7-foot-2 frame, and he shot a career-best 51.6% from the field.

In a related noted, he also took 25.0% of his shots from within three feet of the basket, per Basketball-Reference.com, a career high.

Celtics Still Focused on Championship

Porzingis had been off to a slow start in the early part of the postseason, averaging 12.3 points on 38.9% shooting, but the Celtics did not need much from him to grab a lead on the injury-ravaged Heat. But should Boston advance past Miami, they’ll certainly miss Porzingis more.

Still, the road tilts in the Celtics’ favor. A win over Miami would set up a second-round matchup against the Cavaliers or Magic, whose series is knotted at 2-2. From there, it would likely be the winner of a potential Knicks-Pacers series, as both teams hold 3-1 lead in their respective series.

Fact is, the Celtics should win the East, whether Porzingis is healthy or not. But it would be a different story against the West, especially if the defending-champion Nuggets reach the Finals again.

“Right now, for the Celtics  the hope is that this is not such a serious injury that they lost Kristaps Porzingis for the season, but they’re still evaluating,” Wojnarowski said. “There’s certainly a lot at stake if they want to win a championship, to have Kristaps Porzingis back sooner than later in these playoffs.”

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