Porzingis available for Game 5, expected to play

NBA

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics have listed Kristaps Porzingis as available for Game 5 of the NBA Finals and is expected to play, according to coach Joe Mazzulla.

Porzingis was listed as available ahead of Game 4 Friday in Dallas but did not end up seeing the court as Boston lost in a blowout.

Mazzulla told reporters he is “expecting” to see Porzingis on the court Monday night, adding that he won’t be on a minutes restriction.

Porzingis is attempting to play through the torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg that he suffered in Game 2. Like he did ahead of Game 4, Porzingis went through an extensive 25-minute pregame workout under the watchful eye of Boston’s medical staff about three hours before tip-off of Game 5 here at TD Garden.

After suffering the injury, Boston described Porzingis as “day-to-day.”. He sat out Game 3, then was listed as active for Game 4, though Mazzulla said Porzingis was “not quite ready” for game action and would be used only in very specific circumstances.

Boston didn’t make Porzingis available to reporters Sunday, though in a very brief conversation with ESPN as he walked off the court, the center said he was feeling better, as Mazzulla had said he was Friday.

The 7-foot-3 Latvian, who hadn’t played past the first round of the playoffs before this season, missed more than five weeks with a right calf strain suffered in Game 4 of Boston’s first-round series against the Miami Heat. He returned for the NBA Finals, with Boston going plus-25 in the 44 minutes he played in the first two games and sitting at even across the 52 he did not, before he was injured during Game 2.

Boston acquired Porzingis a year ago in response to losing in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat, sending out fan favorite and former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart in the deal. Porzingis went on to average 20.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Celtics during the regular season and is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks across his two appearances in this year’s Finals.

The Celtics would claim a record-setting 18th NBA championship with a win Monday night.

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