The Latest on Celtics' Center Kristaps Porzingis' Calf Injury Timetable

Apr 24, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) makes the dunk over Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat.
Apr 24, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) makes the dunk over Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night at the Kaseya Center, the Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-1 series lead in their first-round rivalry clash with the Miami Heat.

While Derrick White delivering a career-high 38 points, burying 8/15 (53.3%) of his shots from beyond the arc, was the highlight of the evening for the visitors, the low point and most concerning development was Kristaps Porzingis departing Game 4 with 2:27 left in the first half.

The seven-foot-three center stepped on Tyler Herro's foot while trying to get around him for an offensive rebound. After hobbling, he gingerly trotted down the floor.

Shortly after that, the Latvian native went into a dribble hand-off with Jaylen Brown, but his right calf tightened up. He then asked to come out of the contest, putting his face in his jersey in frustration as he went to the locker room.

Following Boston's 102-88 win, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the early indications is Porzingis did not suffer an Achilles injury. After undergoing imaging, the Celtics ruled him out for Game 5 on Wednesday due to a right soleus strain.

That's the same ailment Giannis Antetokounmpo sustained on Apr. 9 during the Milwaukee Bucks' 104-91 victory vs. the C's. The two-time MVP is yet to return.

Sports and family medicine physician, Dr. Jesse Morse, projects that it will likely take two-to-three weeks for him to return if the injury is mild.

As Boston moves forward without Porzingis, first focusing on trying to punch its ticket to the second round as quickly as possible, it will rely more on Al Horford, Luke Kornet, and Xavier Tillman Sr.

It helps that Horford was a member of the Celtics' closing lineup for the last two postseason runs, which includes their 2022 trip to the NBA Finals. 

Having a seven-foot-two center well-versed in their system and a six-foot-eight, 245-pound option who's done well guarding the likes of Anthony Davis in the playoffs will also help them absorb Porzingis' absence.

And as Celtics radio play-by-play broadcaster Sean Grande noted, Boston has played more minutes this year with the former All-Star center off the floor (57.4% of them) than on. In those minutes, the C's have registered an impressive +11.8 net rating), which tops their +11.2 mark with him on the court. 

Those numbers came from contests that included two wins against the Philadelphia 76ers, a 52-point blowout of the Golden State Warriors, a pair of victories vs. the Phoenix Suns, and an overtime triumph against the Minnesota Timberwolves. There was also a 128-111 win over the Orlando Magic, who Boston might face in the second round.

Another option the Celtics may utilize is playing Jayson Tatum at the five. The six-foot-eight star forward can guard many of the centers in today's NBA. And when Boston, working without its top three players at the pivot, went small in that 17-point victory against the Magic at TD Garden, the hosts ran Orlando off the floor.

Tatum spending time at center is something Joe Mazzulla could tap into as early as Game 5 against the Heat as the Celtics aim to send the defending Eastern Conference champions on summer vacation.

Further Reading

Derrick White Praises Teammates for Career Night: 'Credit Goes to Them'

Derrick White Stars, Porzingis Exits, Celtics Push Heat to Brink of Elimination

Shift in Mindset Fueled Payton Pritchard in Game 3 Win vs. Heat

'Burned Inside': Kristaps Porzingis Bounces Back from 'Worst Game as a Celtic'

Celtics Right the Wrongs of Game 2 to Take 2-1 Lead Over Heat

Heat's Historic Shooting Leaves Celtics Contemplating: 'We Gotta Respond'

Heat Outmuscle and Outshoot Celtics, Sending Series to Miami Tied at 2

Celtics Bench Stars in Its Role in Game 1 Win vs. Heat: 'An Identity of Our Team'

Jayson Tatum Discusses First-Career Playoff Triple-Double: 'A Beautiful Game'

Celtics Protect the Parquet in Dominant Display in Game 1 vs. Heat

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Bobby Krivitsky


Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.