The Boston Celtics are preparing for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, and they'll be without big man Kristaps Porzingis due to his relatively rare injury.

Now, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there is a real fear that the Celtics could be without Porzingis for the remainder of the NBA Finals.

Porzingis had been listed as questionable for Game 3 on Wednesday, with the idea that he would warm up and see how he felt before the Celtics made a final determination. He was ruled out fairly quickly in advance of the game.

Porzingis had just returned from a calf issue in Game 1 of the series. He initially sustained that calf injury in Game 2 of Boston's first-round series win over the Miami Heat and had been sidelined ever since. He showed no lingering effects of the injury, rattling off 20 points in 21 minutes in the Celtics' blowout Game 1 victory over the Mavericks. He also looked good in Game 2, posting a game-high plus-12 in 23 minutes while adding 12 points.

Porzingis' current injury is unrelated to the right calf strain. His official injury designation is a torn medial retinaculum that allowed dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in Porzingis' right leg.

Sports injury expert Jeff Stotts, founder of InStreetClothes, offered further clairification.

“Re: Porzingis: The medial retinaculum is connective tissue that serves as the roof of the tarsal tunnel (think carpal tunnel but in the foot). It anchors multiple structures in place, including the tendon of the posterior tibialis,” he wrote on Twitter. “If the retrinaculum is torn, the tendon can shift out of place (dislocate), causing pain and instability of the ankle and foot. I only have one real comp in my database but it was in conjunction with other traumatic ankle injuries that required surgery.”

Celtics look to go up 3-0 over Mavericks in NBA Finals

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jrue Holiday (4) celebrate after game two against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden
© David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics have taken the first two games of the series over the Mavericks behind their suffocating defense. While Dallas star Luka Doncic has been able to get going and have his usual offensive impact, the rest of the team has struggled. Star point guard Kyrie Irving has averaged only 14 points per game and has yet to make a 3-pointer through the first two games of the series.

That comes down to defense, the Celtics' calling card all season long. In game 2, the Mavs had a chance to make it a one possession game with just under a minute to go, when Derrick White swooped in for a chase-down block to seal the game.

Said White on how he's able to make such key blocks, “I don't really have a fear of getting dunked on… You just gotta realize that if you play this game long enough, it's gonna happen. Especially at this level… Aaron Nesmith dunked on me earlier in the year and that was pretty bad. That's my guy too.”

The Celtics are now just two wins from winning the 2024 NBA Finals behind the strength of their team defense.