Kristaps Porzingis will miss the FIBA Finals with a foot injury, costing the Latvian team their MVP and giving the Boston Celtics something to worry about heading into training camp.
The big man confirmed the news in his native language on social media, saying that the plantar fasciitis in his foot was still preventing him from playing after several weeks of rehabilitation and an MRI. He said it was a joint decision between the Latvian medical staff, the coaching staff and the Celtics.
It is unclear when Porzingis was injured, but German journalist Robert Fabig I mentioned that there was a potential problem on August 9th. Latvian Basketball Federation denied the report.
It’s an embarrassingly timing injury for Porzingis, who has struggled with injuries in his career. The Celtics acquired him in a three-way deal from the Washington Wizards in June, firing former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart as well as Mike Muscala, Danilo Gallinari and a draft pick.
Later that month, the Celtics doubled him to a two-year, $60 million contract.
Porzingis posted some of his best career numbers last season with the Wizards, averaging 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game, while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.5% from 3-point range. Playing with Celtics characters offers a different challenge, though offensive opportunities are plentiful for the moribund Wizards.
In Boston, Porzingis’ personalities are more of a complementary piece to Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, providing floor spacing, edge running, and volume in and out of the paint for a team lacking consistent scoring outside of the all-star pair.
Without Porzingis, Latvia’s chances at the World Cup look even more difficult. They are scheduled to play in Group H with Canada, Lebanon and France. Porcingis now has about a month and a half to recover in time for Celtics training camp, with the veterans allowed to attend on Oct. 2.
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”