Boston Celtics

Latest update on Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis after calf injury

Boston will be without the 7-foot-3 big man for at least the next few games.

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The Boston Celtics played 25 games without Kristaps Porzingis this season. That number is about to increase.

The Celtics officially have ruled Porzingis out of Wednesday's Game 5 matchup against the Miami Heat with a right soleus strain. "Soleus" is a medical term used to describe the calf muscle. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that Porzingis is "expected to miss a minimum of several games."

The full extent of Porzingis' injury -- which he suffered in the second quarter of Boston's Game 4 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night -- is still unknown, as is exactly how much time he'll miss. But Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a very similar injury against the Celtics on April 9 (exactly three weeks ago) and hasn't played since, although there's optimism he could return soon if Milwaukee can extend its first-round series with the Indiana Pacers.

If Porzingis is out multiple weeks, he'd miss the remainder of the Celtics' first-round series vs. Miami -- which they currently lead 3-1 -- and potentially most or all of their second-round series against either the No. 4 seed Cleveland Cavaliers or No. 5 seed Orlando Magic, assuming they advance.

The Eastern Conference Finals are expected to begin sometime between May 19 and May 21, per our Chris Forsberg.

The injury was a frustrating setback for Porzingis, who enjoyed an excellent 2023-24 campaign for the Celtics after they acquired him via trade from the Washington Wizards. The 7-foot-3 big man averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game this season while shooting a career-high 51.6 percent from the floor.

He's been a walking mismatch with his ability to hit 3-pointers and shoot over shorter defenders in the midrange and was one of the NBA's most effective post-up players this season, averaging a league-leading 1.30 points per post-up possessions.

The Celtics have experience playing without him, however: Boston went 21-4 in the games he missed with a double-digit point differential, and Joe Mazzulla's club actually has a better net rating with Porzingis off the court (11.8) than on the court (11.2).

Porzingis is essential to the Celtics' postseason success and could make a huge difference in the East Finals or NBA Finals if he's healthy by that point. But if the likes of veteran big man Al Horford, backup center Luke Kornet, G-League call-up Neemias Queta and trade deadline acquisition Xavier Tillman can step up in Porzingis' absence, Boston should have enough talent to close out the Heat and dispatch either the Cavs or Magic in Round 2.

Game 5 of Celtics-Heat is set for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden, with NBC Sports Boston's Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on the call and coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live.

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