Boston Celtics have received a huge blow as their star center, Kristaps Porzingis, is unlikely to return for the start of the Eastern Conference Finals due to a calf injury. Porzingis sustained a right calf strain during Game 4 of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Miami Heat. The injury sidelined him for the subsequent five-game conference semifinal series victory over Cleveland.

Porzingis joined the Celtics last summer in a three-team trade. While lofty aspirations surrounded them in his trade, he suffered a non-contact injury.

The NBA star’s presence on the court is crucial for the Celtics’ championship aspirations, as evidenced by his performance in the opening-round series against the Heat. The Celtics hero averaged 12 points and five rebounds in four games to halt the Heat’s supremacy.

Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope for Celtics fans as Porzingis has steadily progressed in his recovery. The Celtics center was recently captured working out with Celtics coaches. Meanwhile, optimism also abounds that he may be able to return at some point during the series.

Celtics C Kristaps Porzingis reportedly expected to miss start of Eastern  Conference finals - Yahoo Sports
Who will replace Kristaps Porzingis?

Kristaps Porzingis 'calmed down' after optimistic injury outlook -
In Kristaps Porzingis’ absence, the Boston Celtics have leaned heavily on veteran center Al Horford to anchor their lineup. Throughout the regular season, Horford stepped up whenever various Celtics players were sidelined due to injury or rest.

Horford’s contribution to the team’s success was evident in the series-clinching win over Cleveland. With an impressive stat line of 22 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks, he proved his value on both ends of the court.

With him on the floor, Boston’s net rating has improved significantly by almost 16 points per 100 possessions, underscoring his impact on the team’s overall effectiveness.

Despite Horford’s stellar performances and the success the Celtics have achieved with him leading the charge, there remains a consensus among fans and analysts alike that the team will ultimately need Kristaps Porzingis back in action.