Celtics’ Kristaps Porziņģis to miss Game 5 with right calf strain

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Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porziņģis will miss Game 5 after MRI results confirmed the 7-foot-2 center suffered a right calf strain in the team’s Game 4 win over the Miami Heat.

Porziņģis was injured late in the second quarter of Boston’s eventual 102-88 win Monday to go up 3-1 in the series. On the play he was injured, Porziņģis appeared to tweak his calf upon catching a pass and starting to drive to his left.

He hobbled off the court after the non-contact injury and didn’t return to action. He was later seen wearing a walking boot on his right foot after the game.

The type of calf strain is the same injury Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been dealing with in recent weeks. Antetokounmpo hasn’t played since April 9.

According to Jeff Stotts, the owner of sports injury website InStreetClothes.com, the average time lost for such an injury is about 17 days. That would keep Porziņģis sidelined for most of the second round, if not all of it, assuming the Celtics get there.

The good news is that Porziņģis avoided a more serious injury. The Celtics, who would play the Cleveland Cavaliers or Orlando Magic in the second round, would be significant favorites in that series with or without him.

Boston went 21-4 without Porziņģis during the regular season and still has plenty of talent when he’s injured. The team will eventually need him but should be able to survive without him for a little while. Luke Kornet and Xavier Tillman are both capable of stepping into the rotation.

The bad news is that this will put more of a burden on the 37-year-old Al Horford, who will likely take on a chunk of Porziņģis’ minutes.

The toll could catch up to Horford later in the playoffs. Even if Porziņģis does return in 2 1/2 weeks, there’s no promise he will be fully healthy. Calf injuries can be tricky. They can linger. He was already an injury question mark based on his history of issues and this won’t help.

The Celtics acquired Porziņģis in a three-team deal last offseason that sent away team leader Marcus Smart. The 28-year-old responded with one of the most efficient seasons of his career, averaging 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3.

Boston went 43-14 in games he played this season. The Celtics’ postseason play has mirrored his success in the first round, as Boston strolled to easy wins in Games 1 and 3 with his strong play, but fell in Game 2 as he went cold.

Including his abbreviated night in Game 4, Porziņģis was averaging 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in the series.

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(Photo: Megan Briggs / Getty Images)

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