Joe Mazzulla offers update on Kristaps Porzingis’ status for Game 4




Celtics

“He’s fighting like hell to play.”

Kristaps Porzingis took part in Boston’s shoot around on Thursday. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

It feels all but inevitable that the Celtics will clinch an 18th championship in the coming days.

But it remains to be seen if Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis will be on the court and donning his jersey when Boston finishes the job against the Dallas Mavericks.

After being ruled out of Game 3 of the NBA Finals due to a “left posterior tibialis dislocation” that he suffered in his ankle on Sunday night, Porzingis took part in some of Boston’s practice on Thursday afternoon before the session was closed to the media. 

Boston officially ruled Porzingis as “questionable” for Game 4 on its injury report.

Speaking on Thursday, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla stressed that Porzingis was feeling better since suffering his ankle injury in Game 3, but did not offer any other information regarding his availability for a potential clinching Game 4 on Friday night in Dallas. 

“Kristaps got better from yesterday to today,” Mazzulla said. “He’s fighting like hell to play. But it’s going to be up to us to do what’s in the best interest for him as a player and a person. None of that has anything to do with where we are from a basketball standpoint.”

Porzingis, who returned to the court for Boston in Game 1 after missing over a month with a calf strain, played a key role in the Celtics’ victories over the Mavericks in Games 1 and 2. 

Coming off the bench in order to monitor his minutes, Porzingis’ ability to defend the rim with his 7-foot-2 frame and stretch out opposing defenses with his versatile offensive skillset gives Boston a major mismatch whenever he’s on the court. 

Even though Boston managed to secure a Game 3 win without Porzingis, his return would further bolster a Celtics team looking to finish the job against a Dallas team already on the ropes. 

There have been conflicting reports so far about Porzingis and whether or not he’ll make it back to the court before the end of the NBA Finals.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said there was “real doubt” that the Celtics center would return in this series, but Shams Charania of The Athletic added on Thursday morning that “there is a chance” Porzingis could play in Game 4. 





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