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Kristaps Porzingis Wants to Return as Soon As Possible from Calf Injury

BOSTON — Kristaps Porziņģis spoke at Celtics practice for the first time since suffering a right soleus strain, hoping to return as soon as possible from the ailment without rushing to the point where he aggravates it. He didn’t identify the scale or timeline for a return, but noted that he’s improving daily through the process, calling it week-to-week.

“First, it’s just to control the inflammation and do some movements,” Porziņģis said. “Without stressing it too much. Today, I had a pretty good day, made some steps forward, starting doing some new stuff again. Tomorrow, I guess, will be off, I’ll do some recovery stuff and then Monday I’ll make, again, a big jump. Every day, it’s a pretty big jump.”

Porziņģis has spent time around practice this week checking in with Luke KornetXavier Tillman and the other bigs at their stations. He hasn’t progressed to doing any work on the court himself, undergoing an MRI that revealed a more serious version of the injury he sustained in his other calf earlier in the season. The first few days following the injury and diagnosis got him down. Since, his spirits have increased as he’s seen results in his recovery.

As the second round looms, he hopes to return as soon as possible from what originally looked like a scary injury. Tests on-site ruled out an achilles tear, the worst possible result from a visual like Porziņģis coming up lame while trying to set a screen and hobbling off the floor in Miami with his hands and jersey over his face. He remembers turning his ankle two plays prior, and thinks overcompensating on his rights side might’ve factored into the injury.

“As soon as I pushed off, I felt something, I was like ahh,” Porziņģis said. “You saw my reaction on the court. Once we got the diagnosis, I calmed down and said ok, it looks like it’s not as bad as I originally thought. It is what it is. Of course, nobody wants to get hurt, but at least it’s not as bad as it could’ve been.”

The Celtics and Porziņģis haven’t set a timeline, waiting for him to progress in his activity. He said he’s not super close to returning, but hopes to do so at a historic rate. Reports have noted a roughly 17 day recovery period for a soleus strain, casting doubt on his availability for the entire second round and some optimism he can rejoin the team for a potential east finals series. He expects to travel with the team through the second round.

Porziņģis stood on the floor briefly as practice wrapped on Saturday without shooting or moving much. He wore his practice gear and flashed his usual smile and personality in the media session. Even him talking, period, is a good sign for this not being a devastating injury. Boston awaits the winner of Magic-Cavaliers on Sunday and will tip-off its second round series at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s something, it’s not nothing,” Porziņģis said. “It’ll take a little bit of time for sure, but I’m doing everything I can to speed it up, because I want to be out there as soon as possible … being smart and you’ll have to ask the medical people about the specifics about it. I’m just following the plan … I’m not gonna lie, it’s tough … it gets you down for a second, but it is what it is. It’s part of the sport … the best thing I can do now is what’s the next thing I have to do now to get healthy as soon as possible? It happened in a game. That’s it. Looking forward to make quick steps forward toward being back on the court.”

Bobby Manning

Boston Celtics beat reporter for CLNS Media and host of the Garden Report Celtics Post Game Show. NBA national columnist for Boston Sports Journal. Contributor to SB Nation's CelticsBlog. Host of the Dome Theory Sports and Culture Podcast on CLNS. Syracuse University 2020.

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