Kristaps Porzingis Unavailable For Game 3

7:55pm: Appearing on NBA Countdown, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said there is “real doubt” about Porzingis’ availability for the rest of the NBA Finals (video link).

5:45pm: Kristaps Porzingis will miss tonight’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals due to a posterior tibialis dislocation in his left leg, the Celtics announced (via Twitter).

The injury occurred late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game as Porzingis battled for rebounding position on a free throw. The team called his condition “rare” and said it’s not related to a right calf strain that kept him out of action for more than a month.

Porzingis has been a difference maker in the first two games of the series, coming off the bench to average 16 points and five rebounds in 21.9 minutes per night. Boston has a +27.7 net rating when he has been on the court vs. Dallas.

Porzingis brushed aside concerns about the injury Sunday night and indicated that he expected to be ready for the next game. However, the decision was ultimately made by the Celtics’ medical staff, who don’t believe it’s wise to let him play. It may be significant that the decision was announced nearly two hours before game time, rather than letting Porzingis participate in warm-ups to see how he responds.

In his pre-game meeting with reporters, coach Joe Mazzulla said the medical team watched Porzingis go through some tests and determined he wasn’t ready, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Mazzulla added that Porzingis will be considered day-to-day for Friday’s Game 4 and beyond, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs. com (Twitter link).

With two days of rest since Game 2, starting center Al Horford might log more minutes than usual tonight. Horford played 30 and 28 minutes in the first two games against the Mavericks, but he was on the court for 40 minutes during the last game of the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana while Porzingis was sidelined.

Mazzulla may also opt to give more playing time to backup big men Luke Kornet and Neemias Queta. Kornet saw about three minutes of action in Game 1, while Queta hasn’t played yet in the series.

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