Boston Celtics

Porzingis shares great response to injury concern entering Game 3

"I'll die out there."

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BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics are two wins away from an NBA championship, but the injury status of one of their best players once again is a storyline.

Big man Kristaps Porzingis played just 23 minutes in Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden -- a 105-98 Celtics win over the Dallas Mavericks -- and appeared to land awkwardly on multiple occasions in the second half.

Porzingis looked a bit hobbled after attempting to contest an alley-oop to Mavs big man Daniel Gafford late in the third quarter, then got tangled up with Dallas wing P.J. Washington under the basket with about 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.

It's unclear which leg Porzingis injured, but the Celtics' training staff checked on him several times in the second half, and he briefly went to the locker room with a trainer as well, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix.

Game 2 was just Porzingis' second game back from a month-plus hiatus after he suffered a strained right calf on April 29 against the Miami Heat. While his status obviously is worth monitoring, the 7-foot-2 big man downplayed his injury after the game.

"I'm feeling good," Porzingis told reporters. "Yeah, I don't think it's anything serious, but we'll look at it tomorrow and go from there. But all good."

Porzingis played coy on the specifics of his injury -- "I don't even know what it is, to be honest," he said -- but it did force him to exit a close NBA Finals game with 4:40 remaining in the fourth quarter in favor of Al Horford, which obviously raises concerns about his health going forward.

When asked about his status for Game 3 in Dallas on Wednesday, however, Porzingis suggested he'll do whatever it takes to be on the floor.

"Obviously something happened a little bit, but I have a couple of days again, and believe me, we will do everything we can to be back and moving well," Porzingis said. "... I'll die out there if we need. So I just kept going.

"But I would say I was a little bit limited, so the smart thing was to get Al back in there and close out the game."

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla also provided a reassuring update on Porzingis, insisting he had "zero" concern about the big man's injury.

Porzingis was efficient in limited action Sunday, scoring 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting while grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots. He now has 32 points and five blocks in about 43 minutes of action through Games 1 and 2 and has given the Celtics a notable boost on both ends while on the court.

Boston didn't need him much in Game 2 thanks to a strong effort from Jrue Holiday (a game-high 26 points), but even having Porzingis on the floor is a difference-maker for the Celtics, so his comments are an encouraging sign as the series shifts to Dallas on Wednesday.

Check out Porzingis' full press conference in the video below.

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