Saturday, May 18, 2024

Report: Kristaps Porzingis to miss first two games of Eastern Conference Finals

The Celtics reportedly will be without Kristaps Porzingis for at least the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

While Boston is coming off of a 113-98 victory to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 earlier this week, to which Porzingis didn't play a single minute in round two, Woj's reports that there remains "optimism he'll be able to return sometime in the series -- barring any setbacks."

Porzingis, who's averaging 12.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists so far during the playoffs -- a far cry from his 20.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in the regular season, hasn't suited up since April 29 against Miami in the first round. The seven-footer left late in the second quarter of Game 4 with a calf injury that was later revealed to be a right soleus strain, before the C's closed out the Heat in Game 5 with a 118-84 win at home.

On Friday, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla had "no idea" on Porzingis' injury status and when he could potentially return.

In the meantime, Boston has won five of their last six without Porzingis with Al Horford doing a lot of the heavy lifting as a starter. The 37-year-old is coming off his 22-point, 15-rebound and five-assist stat line in Game 5 against the Cavs -- his best performance of the postseason.

Luke Kornet has also seen an uptick in minutes during Porzingis' absence, as the team has essentially gotten through the first two rounds without their starting center.

With the Celtics anticipating the return of Porzingis, they'll also awaiting on their next round opponent between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. Despite the Knicks leading that best-of-7 series 3-2 and regardless if there's a Game 7 or not, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be played on Tuesday, May 21 at TD Garden.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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