Whether or not Kristaps Porzingis plays for the Boston Celtics may not just be the difference in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals, but the difference in how the rest of this series plays out. Porzingis suffered a left posterior tibialis dislocation in Game 2 of this series, a rare injury that has not been presented with a clear timetable for recovery.

If this was the regular season, then Porzingis would've likely been ruled out for a few weeks. But the fact of the matter is that he has been moving around and is wanting to do everything in his power to be on the floor in the NBA Finals for the Celtics. This has led everyone to ask the question: Is Kristaps Porzingis is playing at home on Monday night in Game 5?

Kristaps Porzingis injury update for Game 5 vs. Mavericks

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) looks on before game four of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Although he was considered “active” for Game 4 in Dallas, a potential closeout game in the NBA Finals, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said the star big man was only going to be used for situational purposes. There was no clarity given as to what this meant, and Porzingis ended up sitting on the bench throughout the entirety of Boston's 122-84 beatdown in Dallas.

The Mavericks now have a little bit of confidence after picking up their first win in this championship series, and they have been deadly on the road in these playoffs. It is never easy to win that fourth and final game in the NBA Finals, and the Celtics having to do so without Porzingis makes it even harder. As for whether the Celtics' starting center is going to be able to play in Game 5, this remains the biggest mystery surrounding the 2024 NBA Finals.

Initially, Porzingis was listed as questionable to play in Game 5. However, he has since been upgraded to available.

During media availability on Sunday, Mazzulla spoke to reporters about the team's mindset and approach heading into a very important Game 5 on their home floor. Mazzulla, who was of course asked about the star's status, made it clear that Porzingis has been trying to prepare for this matchup.

“I'm not sure kind of where he's at,” Mazzulla stated after pointing out that he had not yet spoken with Porzingis prior to the team's practice. “But he's trying and doing everything he can to try to put himself in position to be out there. I know that for sure.”

Porzingis was not made available to the media and reporters on Sunday, but he has been seen walking around with no noticeable limp or limitations in his step. The good news for the Celtics is that Porzingis was active and ready to check in whenever his name was called during Game 4. Whether or not he would be the same impactful big man that he always is was the mystery left unsolved.

Xavier Tillman Sr., who has stepped up off the bench the last two games for the Celtics in the wake of Porzingis' injury, told reporters on Sunday that he believes Boston's star is still dealing with a lot of pain.

“We'll see. Obviously, it's a rare leg injury. If he's in excruciating pain and can't be himself it might not be worth it,” Tillman said regarding Porzingis making a return in this series, via Celtics reporter Noa Dalzell. “When we go through our practices and stuff like that, he's doing some stuff, but you can tell he's very uncomfortable. We don't want to put him in any type of situation that could really, really hurt him.”

It's like that Porzingis will have the same status. However, with Tillman stepping up and Boston still holding a commanding 3-1 lead in this championship series, Mazzulla and his staff will very likely keep Porzingis on the bench for the duration of the game.

But when it comes to the question if Kristaps Porzingis is playing tonight in Game 5, the answer is maybe.