Kristaps Porzingis can't catch a break with injuries. After suffering a calf injury in Game 4 of the Boston Celtics' first-round series against the Miami Heat, Porzingis missed 10 straight games. He had to watch the Celtics clinch their trip to the NBA Finals while sitting on the bench. Although he played in the first two games of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, making a big impact off the bench, it was recently revealed that Porzingis suffered a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg.

This very rare leg injury ultimately resulted in the Celtics' medical staff keeping the star big man sidelined for Boston's 106-99 Game 3 victory in Dallas on Wednesday. With Porzingis' status very much uncertain for the remainder of the series, some light was shed on his possible return.

In the aftermath of taking a 3-0 series lead over the Mavericks, just one game away from winning a championship, The Athletic's Shams Charania states that Porzingis could possibly return for Game 4 on Friday night.

“I'm told there is a chance Kristaps Porzingis plays in Game 4,” Charania stated on FanDuel's Run It Back Thursday morning. “He is moving and he is doing workouts. He worked out yesterday. The Celtics' medical staff just did not feel like he was going to be ready for a game-like environment, but he did work out and is expected to do more today.”

Porzingis was a huge factor in the two Finals games he has played. After scoring 20 points off the bench in Game 1, Porzingis came back with a 12-point, two-block performance in Game 2. He has proven to be Boston's ultimate X-factor, not just in this series but this entire year.

If he is able to return, Porzingis would immediately put the Celtics in a better spot to sweep the Mavs en route to their 18th championship in team history. No team has won four straight games in the NBA Finals since the Golden State Warriors did so to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018.

With Porzings on the court, this would be very possible for the Celtics to achieve.

Celtics secure Game 3 win without Kristaps Porzingis

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) reacts after a play against the Dallas Mavericks during the first quarter in game two of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden.
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics trailed by as many as 13 points early on in the first quarter of Wednesday night's Game 3 in Dallas. Ultimately, they were able to settle down and turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 21-point lead in the second half.

However, after appearing to be on cruise control heading towards the finish line, it was Luka Doncic and the Mavs who went on a run. The Celtics saw their lead go from 21 points to 15 points at the end of the third quarter, and then that 15-point lead was cut to just six points over a five-minute span to begin the final quarter of play.

Even with Dallas storming back and looking like they were going to steal a victory, Boston held on to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Despite not having Porzingis, the Celtics were able to pick up this critical win due to their depth.

“I would say both teams have a lot of talent. So I think you have to have talent to get to this spot. That's a given if you want to make it this far,” head coach Joe Mazzulla said in his postgame remarks. “But our guys have a great basketball IQ and have a great understanding of are we playing the right way, taking the right shots and giving up the right shot. They know exactly when we are not doing that.”

Without Porzingis on the floor, the Celtics did look a little lost at times offensively. On defense, they did not have their rim protector in the paint, which the Mavericks took advantage of early on by getting to the rim and throwing lobs to Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford.

At the end of the day, talent prevailed for the Celtics, and their confidence is sky-high heading into Game 4 on Friday night. For Mazzulla, the message of staying locked in and understanding that the series is not over just yet will be echoed consistently over the next 48 hours.

“You have to expect the expected. You've got to understand we are just as vulnerable if not more vulnerable than they are. And we have to play that way,” Mazzulla continued. “So as long as we have that mindset, and when you understand that you're vulnerable and your back's against the wall, you've got to fight.

“That's the mindset that we have to have.”