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Important Kristaps Porzingis Injury Update

Kristaps Porzingis is gearing up for a return in the Eastern Conference finals.

A recent ESPN report provided an update on Kristaps Porzingis’ status ahead of the upcoming conference finals. The report comes with mixed news for Celtics’ fans as Porzingis is likely out for the first two games of the series. However, barring any setbacks it’s believed he will return later in the series. Porzingis has been out since April 29th after he suffered a soleus calf strain in the middle of Game 5 in the first round against the Miami Heat. 

Important Kristaps Porzingis Injury Update

Recovery Timeline and Update  

The Celtics will face the winner of the Knicks-Pacers series. Which has gone to a Game 7 that will be played Sunday at 3:30. However, regardless of who wins the series, the Celtics will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night.  

A few days after the initial injury Chris Haynes provided an update stating Porzingis is expected to return during the conference finals. While he didn’t explicitly say it, the original Haynes report implied that Porzingis would return for the start of the Eastern Conference finals. Getting Porzingis back a few games later than originally anticipated isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Crucially, the original Haynes report was the clearest timeline we had.

Notably, the typical recovery timetable for a first-degree calf soleus strain is one to three weeks. However, second-degree calf soleus strains take three to weeks to heal. By missing the first two games of the conference finals Porzingis will be just above this three-week threshold. Notably, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed just over three weeks with the same injury. What this shows us is that Porzingis likely suffered between a first and second-degree strain. However, he appears to be progressing on a normal timeline. This update also comes with several reports that Porzingis has been progressing nicely and actively ramping up his basketball activities. Porzingis has been practicing with the team since May 8th. Overall these are very positive signs for Porzingis and the Celtics. 

The Value of Getting Porzingis Back 

Needless to say, Porzingis has proven to be incredibly valuable for the Celtics on both ends of the court. Porzingis is an efficient interior scorer and lob threat with high-level floor spacing and shot-blocking abilities. Ultimately, he’s one of the team’s most important players and someone they likely can’t win a title without. In all likelihood, the Celtics don’t need Porzingis to get past the injury-riddled Knicks or the young Pacers. However, they will absolutely need him for a potential finals matchup regardless of who comes out of the West.

All four of the remaining West teams would be by far and away the biggest challenge the Celtics have faced in the playoffs this year. Porzingis’ services are particularly necessary against the size and length of either the Nuggets or Timberwolves. As a result, the true importance of getting Porzingis back in the next round is not only to win the series but to make sure he’s fully ready for the finals. Given Porzingis’ injury history, the Celtics shouldn’t rush him back for Game 3 if he’s not ready. However, if Porzingis is in basketball shape the Celtics must play him so he can build some momentum for a potential finals matchup. ESPN’s report makes a Game 3 return seem fairly likely. Ultimately, all signs point to Porzingis making a return in the Eastern Conference finals whether that be in Game 3 or later in the series. 



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