Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis downplays severity of knee injury


“Just got hit just like a contusion. Nothing too serious but it’s a bit stiff.”

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) reacting after blocking New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shot during fourth quarter NBA action at TD Garden.
Kristaps Porzingis suffered a knee contusion on Monday against the Knicks. Matthew J Lee / The Boston Globe

Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis has been ruled out of Wednesday’s road matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.

But even with the former All-Star set to sit out Boston’s rematch against Philly, Porzingis doesn’t expect to be on the shelf for long.

During Boston’s shootaround at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday morning, Porzingis acknowledged that he suffered a knee contusion during Monday’s home win over the Knicks.

“I got it on the [Julius] Randle drive,” Porzingis said, per CLNS Media. “Just got hit just like a contusion. Nothing too serious but it’s a bit stiff.”

Boston initially tabbed Porzingis as “questionable” for Wednesday’s game in its first injury report. With Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla confirming both Porzingis and Jaylen Brown’s (illness) absence on Wednesday, Boston will turn to Al Horford and Luke Kornet as the next men up at the center position.

Even if Porzingis’ ailment is not serious, the Celtics could be erring on the side of caution when it comes to their 7-foot-3 big man — especially this early into the 2023-24 season.

Porzingis’ size, shooting touch, post presence, and defense at both the rim and pick-and-roll situations have made an already dangerous Celtics roster arguably the team to beat in the NBA this season.

But with Boston in the midst of a stretch that features four games in six days, Boston could prescribe more rest for Porzingis in order to keep him fresh during these early weeks of the new season.

Porzingis, who is logging 30.2 minutes per game in his first year with Boston, is averaging 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks through 10 games.

“That’s another thing, medical staff, they want to be smart about these things,” Porzingis said. We have to play the long game and know not to force something now, that’s not maybe as necessary. It’s most important that towards the end of the season, that’s when we need to be on and healthy and that’s what they’re making sure of. So I’m just, you know, following the orders.”

Injuries have been one of the most glaring red flags surrounding Porzingis’ game since arriving in the NBA.

Even though he played in 65 games with Washington last season, that marked the most games the forward has logged in a single season since his 2016-17 campaign with the Knicks.

Along with missing the entire 2018-19 season due to a torn ACL, Porzingis has missed 25 games or more in four of the seven NBA seasons he has played.