Kristaps Porzingis made his triumphant return for the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals after he missed 10 consecutive playoff games — which spanned from Game 6 of the first round until the end of the Eastern Conference Finals — due to a calf strain.

However, Porzingis sustained a “rare” injury in Game 2 that kept him out of Game 3. The question now is, is Porzingis playing for the Celtics in their closeout game against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night?

Porzingis' return could not have come at a better time, especially given the revenge narrative surrounding him in a Finals matchup against his former team. In Game 1, Porzingis showed the Mavericks what they were missing, much to the Celtics' delight. He put up 11 points in the first quarter as the Celtics built a sturdy double-digit lead that they would not relinquish.

The 7-foot-3 Latvian international finished that game with 20 points despite coming off the bench, proving that the Celtics' decision not to insert him straight back into the starting lineup correct.

In Game 2, Porzingis tallied 12 points and four rebounds in a seven-point win, but he came out of the game limping, which gave Celtics fans great cause for concern that he may have re-aggravated the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs.

The truth, however, ended up being more bizarre than anyone had initially thought. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Porzingis had sustained a torn medial retinaculum, which allowed dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon, putting his status for Game 3 in doubt. Soon enough, he was ruled out for Game 3 — with a return looking unlikely.

Nonetheless, crazier things have happened in the NBA in the past. With a chance to win the Celtics' 18th championship in franchise history in Game 4 against the Mavericks, fans will want to know the answer to the question of, is Kristaps Porzingis playing in Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals on Friday night?

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Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis' injury status for Game 4 vs. Mavericks

Initially, the Celtics have listed Kristaps Porzingis as “questionable” on the injury report. He has since been upgraded to available, but head coach Joe Mazzulla said that the big man will “only be used in specific instances, if necessary,” per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

While many experts and analysts deemed a return for Porzingis as unlikely, it's definitely great to see him doing well and taking part in Game 4 even in a limited capacity.

Porzingis' listed injury on the latest report submitted to the league is described as a dislocated left posterior tibialis. A quick study on the matter shows that the posterior tibialis is the deepest muscle in the rear compartment of the lower leg. An injury to this body part causes pain around the inside of the ankle as well as the tendon near the heel.

Given how much feet movement overall is required in the game of basketball, it will be difficult for Kristaps Porzingis to play through this kind of injury.

He wasn't already the most mobile defensive player, usually playing drop coverage as he doesn't have the lateral quickness to stick with guards on the perimeter, so playing at less than 100 percent could make him a target for the Mavericks to exploit in screening actions.

Porzingis said that he would be willing to “die” on the court just to help the Celtics in their bid to win it all. However, for Game 4, the urgency isn't yet at its highest. This is not an all hands-on-deck situation yet for the Celtics.

In Game 3, they did just fine with Porzingis out. Even though Xavier Tillman Sr. had barely played non-garbage-time minutes in the playoffs this season, he performed well in Game 3 as the main Celtics big man off the bench.

Tillman has good mobility on the perimeter for his size, allowing him to stay with Luka Doncic on a couple of drives. He even swatted one of his shots and altered a few more. And in a huge momentum-builder for the Celtics, Tillman even hit a three, making the Mavericks pay for disrespecting him and leaving him wide open.

With Porzingis limited, expect Tillman to continue playing huge minutes off the bench for the Celtics in Game 4. Given Mazzulla's statement, the answer to the question of is Kristaps Porzingis playing tonight vs. the Celtics is most likely yes.