Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis (Calf) Will Likely Miss Games 1 and 2 of ECF

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Boston Celtics Kristaps Porzingis (Calf) Will Likely Miss Games 1 and 2 of Eastern Conference finals ECF

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis will likely miss Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals next week due to a soleus strain of his right calf, but there’s optimism he’ll be able to return during the series, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kristaps Porzingis suffered the calf injury in Game 5 of the Boston Celtics’ first-round series against the Miami Heat

Porzingis, 28, has been making progress in his recovery, ramping up his on-court activity for an anticipated return in the conference finals. However, the 7-foot-2 big man still needs more time for a return to play. The opening two games of the East finals are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday in Boston.

Porzingis has been out since suffering the injury in Game 5 of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Miami Heat on April 30. He tweaked his calf after catching a pass from Jaylen Brown late in the second quarter. According to the film, it was a non-contact calf injury.

The eight-year NBA veteran also missed the entirety of Boston’s five-game conference semifinal series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Probably the most important guy on our team for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Jayson Tatum told reporters of Porzingis after the Celtics’ Game 5 win against Miami.

“No doubt in my mind that he was gonna have a better game and bounce back, just the way he started out the game on both ends of the floor being active. When he’s protecting the rim, contesting shots, we’re a whole different team.”

Celtics are 5-1 this postseason without Porzingis

The Celtics are now awaiting the winner of the New York Knicks-Indiana Pacers semifinal series. The series is tied with Game 7 Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Boston is 5-1 in the postseason since Porzingis’ injury. If he misses Games 1 and 2 of the ECF, his potential target date could be May 25.

In 57 games (all starts) of the regular season, Porzingis averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, helping the Celtics to a league-best 64-18 record and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Al Horford, 37, has been starting in Porzingis’ place. In Boston’s series-clinching win over Cleveland on Wednesday, Horford became the oldest player in NBA history to post at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and five 3-pointers in a playoff game, passing LeBron James.

Boston acquired Porzingis during the offseason in a three-team trade with the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies.