Kristaps Porzingis’ injury cause for concern ahead of Celtics preseason


How concerning is Porzingis' plantar fasciitis?

The Celtics’ relationship with newly-acquired unicorn center Kristaps Porzingis is already off on the wrong foot.

The pun, like injuries with any NBA player over 7 feet, was unavoidable.

Boston confirmed Porzingis has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, and will be in a rehab program for four to six weeks. He’s “expected to be cleared for the start of training camp,” according to the Celtics.

Opining on an athlete’s injury without an orthopedist degree is a waste of time, but it doesn’t take years of medical training to surmise this isn’t great news for the Celtics, even if Porzingis is healthy for training camp.

The Celtics went all-in on the Latvian superstar knowing his history of injuries, including but not limited to a torn ACL in 2018 and a lateral meniscus tear in 2020 that required surgery.

It’s easy to see how Brad Stevens and the Celtics lusted after Porzingis despite his wobbly knees. He’s  coming off his statistically best year since his ACL tear, having averaged 23 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Most importantly, he was available for 65 games with Washington last year – the most floor time he’s had since his early years in New York.

But with all that upside comes the downside of inking a unicorn: they’re hard to keep healthy. And while the Celtics have needed help in the frontcourt for several seasons, it’s reasonable to be concerned their new star addition will have to be another part-time contributor to a part of the roster full of delicate puzzle pieces. Rob Williams III has irreplaceable talents around the rim, but has the soft tissue of a hummingbird. Al Horford is the steady three-and-D presence on the court and voice in the locker room, but spent last season unavailable for back-to-backs due to the unavoidable side effects of being human: aging.

The Celtics gave up a lot of their identity for Porzingis, even if he’s a mostly healthy and available contributor to a contender. The merits of his addition are undeniable: he has the attributes to finally help this group to a title.

The very best-case scenario is this injury will be a…footnote in Porzingis’ signing.

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