Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Stevens details Porzingis’ unlikely path to playing in Game 5 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kristaps Porzingis delivered an all-time quote after suffering a leg injury in Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals.

“We will do everything we can to be back and moving well,” the Boston Celtics big man said. “I’ll die out there if we need.”

That was before Porzingis and the Celtics learned the exact nature of the injury. He was diagnosed with a “torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg.” It’s a rare injury that, as Porzingis would reveal after the Finals, requires surgery.

Porzingis didn’t play in Games 3 or 4 of the series, but there was no way he was missing the championship clincher at TD Garden. In an exclusive 1-on-1 with our Celtics insider Chris Forsberg, C’s president of basketball operations Brad Stevens detailed how the Latvian star found his way back onto the court.

“It became pretty clear that it was gonna be uncomfortable, but there’s not much you could do to worsen it,” Stevens said of Porzingis’ injury. “And it was gonna be really about, like, would he be able to get back with the help of our medical staff? Because he was going to have to fix it anyways.

“I didn’t think he was going to play in Game 5 when I left the building on Sunday, and he woke up that morning and was like, ‘No, I’m playing, I don’t care. Hurts, but it is what it is.’ “

Porzingis recorded five points and a rebound in 16 minutes during Boston’s Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Although he was unable to make his usual impact on the game, his presence was felt with the roar of the TD Garden crowd each time he touched the ball or was shown on the video board.

Shortly after the Celtics’ championship celebration, coach Joe Mazzulla revealed Porzingis “overrode” the team’s medical staff to play in Game 5. That decision was emblematic of the team’s mentality with Banner 18 within reach.

“These guys all really wanted it, here’s no question about it, and he wanted to be a part of it,” Stevens added. “Even in Game 4, he wasn’t feeling great. We were just going to use him in a unique scenario where maybe you have to put him on the ball with 0.2 seconds left or whatever the case may be. But he just wanted to be in uniform.

“And I think that in Game 5 he just said it’s not going to be comfortable. And he had a couple of closeouts where it was like, he’s struggling to get out there, but I just think his presence and that willingness to play revved the crowd up, revved our guys up, and now he’ll go and have the surgery and whenever he gets back, he’ll be fully good to go.”

On Tuesday, the Celtics announced that Porzingis will undergo surgery in the coming days and won’t play for his native Latvia in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Stevens told reporters that the team will have a better idea of Porzingis’ recovery timeline after the surgery.

Watch Forsberg’s full 1-on-1 with Stevens below, or on YouTube:

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#Stevens #details #Porzingis #path #playing #Game

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