Sources: Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis expected out for start of ECF

Sources: Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis expected out for start of ECF

ByADRIAN WOJNAROWSKI

May 17, 2024, 8:09 PM

    Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis is expected to remain sidelined for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals next week, but there's optimism he'll be able to return sometime in the series -- barring any setbacks, sources told ESPN on Friday.

    Porzingis has been making progress in his recovery from a soleus strain of his right calf, ramping up his on-court activity for an anticipated return in the conference finals, but still needs more time for a return to play, sources said.

    The Celtics are awaiting the winner of the New York Knicks- Indiana Pacers semifinal series. The Knicks lead 3-2 entering Game 6 Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

    Porzingis -- out since suffering the injury in Game 5 of the Celtics' first-round series against the Miami Heat on April 30 -- missed the entirety of Boston's five-game conference semifinal series victory over  Cleveland.

    He is likely to miss the opening two games of the East finals, scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday in Boston.

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    At 7-foot-3, the return of Porzingis -- who averaged 20 points and 7.2 rebounds in the regular season -- is considered paramount for the Celtics' ultimate chances of winning a championship.

    Al Horford, 37, has been starting in Porzingis' place. Horford had a remarkable 22 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks in the series-clinching win over Cleveland on Wednesday.

    Porzingis arrived in Boston via an offseason three-team trade with Washington and Memphis.

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