Report: Celtics’ Porzingis expected to miss first two games of Eastern Conference Finals

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) gestures after scoring a three-point basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in Miami. (Marta Lavandier/AP)

The Boston Celtics received some good and bad news on Friday.

Centre Kristaps Porzingis is expected to miss the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals but there is optimism he’ll be able to return later in the series, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Porzingis, 28, has missed the team’s last six games with a right soleus (calf) strain after suffering an injury in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Miami Heat.

He missed the entirety of the second-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Boston made due, taking them down in five games to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third-straight year.

According to Wojnarowski, Porzingis has made some progress in his recovery from the injury and is ramping up his on-court activity in hopes that he returns for the Conference Finals.

He’s set to miss the first two games of the series, which are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday. Both games are in Boston.

The Celtics don’t yet know who they’ll be taking on in the third round, as the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers are caught in a tight series, with New York leading the way 3-2 and Game 6 taking place on Friday.

Porzingis has enjoyed a solid first season in Boston after being acquired in a trade last off-season. He averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 locks while shooting 51.6 per cent from the field and 37.5 per cent from 3-point range.

In the playoffs, he is averaging 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Al Horford, 37, has been strong in his stead, averaging 9.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks and scored 22 points in the series-clinching Game 5 win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday.

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