May 27, 2024

The primary concern for Boston Celtics enthusiasts following the acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis wasn’t the departure of experienced guard Marcus Smart in the three-team transaction; rather, it centered on Porzingis’ fitness. Before joining Boston, the frequently injured center had participated in over 58 games in a season only once in the past eight years. He sat out the entire 2018-19 season due to a torn ACL, and his health hasn’t shown significant improvement in the current season.

Kristaps Porzingis Out Again

 

The Celtics are set to play their third game on the West Coast swing, taking on the Los Angeles Clippers in a Saturday matinee on December 23. Unfortunately, they will be missing two key players in the frontcourt, including Porzingis, who sustained an ankle sprain during a 144-119 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Additionally, backup center Luke Kornet is unavailable due to a left adductor strain.

Porzingis, who had recently returned from a calf injury, had an impressive performance in the win over the Kings, contributing 24 points, nine rebounds, and six blocked shots. However, the ankle injury occurred late in the game, sidelining him once again. With Al Horford resting on the second half of a back-to-back, Porzingis had taken on a significant role in the paint.

Kristaps Porzingis downgraded to OUT vs. Warriors

Despite his standout performance, there is growing concern among Celtics fans about Porzingis’s injury history. Although the recent ankle injury is considered a fluke, his tendency to miss substantial playing time is worrisome. Even when recovering from the calf injury, Porzingis expressed eagerness to return to the court, but the medical staff opted for a cautious approach in the initial weeks.

Porzingis has already missed seven games, and sitting out against the formidable Clippers marks his eighth absence. The Celtics, who heavily rely on Porzingis in the lineup, especially given their thin frontcourt, cannot afford an extended absence from their star center. This dilemma forces the medical staff to exercise caution, balancing the need for Porzingis’s presence on the court with his injury history.

While losing Marcus Smart was a significant blow, the Porzingis-for-Smart trade has generally been positive for Boston. When on the court, Porzingis has been a defensive force, excelling as a rim protector. Offensively, he poses a threat both as a lob finisher and a 3-point shooter, making 35 shots from beyond the arc at a 35% success rate.

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