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Will Kristaps Porzingis play against the Mavericks in game 4 of the NBA Finals?

The Latvian center performed superbly for the Celtics in two wins against the Mavs but missed Game 3 with a rare injury.

The Latvian center performed superbly for the Celtics in two wins against the Mavs but missed Game 3 with a rare injury.

The Boston Celtics can make history on Friday night by becoming the most decorated team in NBA Championship history outright, a status they currently share with arch rivals the Los Angeles Lakers. Joe Mazzulla’s men need one more victory to secure their first title since 2008 and 18th overall, and can complete an NBA Finals sweep of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Texas.

However, they may have to attempt to win an 11th successive playoff game without Kristaps Porzingis, who has been listed as questionable for Game 4 as he continues to struggle with what has been described as a “freak” injury.

How did Porzingis suffer the injury?

The first game of the 2024 Finals marked the return of Latvian center Porzingis, who had previously been sidelined since late April. The 28-year-old made an immediate and emphatic impact off the bench, bagging 20 points for Boston on his comeback.

The seven foot tall Porzingis, who had missed all of May’s action due to a calf strain, added six rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes as the Celtics left the Mavs looking for answers.

Game 2 also saw the Latvian on court for more than 20 minutes and despite the Celtics not sizzling on the night, the 28-year-old was on hand to drop 12 points as part of the 98-105 win.

However, the night was tinged with frustration for the power forward as he claimed “to have felt something,” which ultimately led to him missing Game 3 on Wednesday.

What “freak” injury does Porzingis have?

The Celtics confirmed that Porzingis had suffered a “torn medial retinaculum, allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon” in his left leg during the third quarter of Game 2. The injury is not related to Porzingis’ prior right calf injury that kept him out of the team’s lineup for most of the playoffs.

The Tibialis Posterior is located deep in the posterior compartment of the lower leg and situated towards the ankle. It is a key stabilising muscle supporting the medial arch of the foot and a rare injury.

Porzingis Game 4 participation up in the air

Porzingis himself hasn’t commented on his injury since before Game 3, with coach Mazzulla only briefly mentioning the issue in his pre-game press conference on Thursday.

Kristaps has gotten better from yesterday to today. He’s fighting like hell to play. But it’s going to be up to us to protect him and to make sure that it’s in the best interest for him as a player and as a person.”

Reading between the lines, it appears as if a late decision will be made on whether Porzingis takes to the court against the Mavs in Game 4. But considering the Celtics have won 10 of the last 11 games they have played without him, perhaps it’s a risk not worth taking.