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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Celtics’ Porzingis ruled out for NBA Finals game 3

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Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis lost his last-minute fitness battle Wednesday and was ruled out for game three of the NBA Finals in Dallas with what the team has called a “rare” lower left leg injury.

The Latvian power forward had insisted he would try to play despite being diagnosed with a “torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg” after game two on Sunday.

The 28-year-old had returned from a month-long injury layoff with a right calf strain and helped the Celtics seize a 2-0 lead against his former Mavericks team in the best-of-seven championship series.

“The medical team and the staff decided it wasn’t what’s best for him to go tonight,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said less than two hours before tip-off.

Porzingis’s availability for the rest of the series remains in question.

“It’ll just be a day to day thing,” Mazzulla said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow and the next day.”

His absence will be a blow, but after he was injured in game four of the first-round victory over the Miami Heat the Celtics went on to beat Cleveland in five games and sweep the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.

“Obviously you saw the first two games, his rim protection, his ability to space the floor,” Mazzulla said of the key contributions Porzingis makes.

“The guys ready to step in can do different things and have a positive impact,” Mazzulla said.

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