The Boston Celtics dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third consecutive season. But the biggest question for the Celtics moving forward is their health. The Celtics have been without starting big man Kristaps Porzingis as he's been sidelined with a calf injury.

Porzingis suffered the injury during the Celtics first round playoff series against the Miami Heat and he was out for the entirety of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavs. Now with the Celtics awaiting the winner between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, Porzingis will likely be out for the start of the Eastern Conference Finals as per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Porzingis is in his first season with the Celtics after being acquired in trade with the Washington Wizards in the offseason. He was part of a phenomenal offseason for the Celtics during which they also acquired Jrue Holiday in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

During the regular season, Porzingis fit seamlessly in the Celtics system and he helped them to the best overall record in the NBA. He appeared in 57 games at a little over 29 minutes per game. He averaged 20.1 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 blocked shots with splits of a career high 51.6 percent shooting from the field, 37.5 percent shooting from the three point line and 85.8 percent shooting from the free throw line.

Celtics face possible Finals run without Kristaps Porzingis due to injury

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4) in the third quarter during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.
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No matter who emerges from the Knicks and Pacers series, the Celtics are going to be the favored team to reach the NBA Finals. Both those teams don't appear to be Finals contenders just yet even with the looming absence of Kristaps Porzingis. But should the Celtics reach the NBA Finals, they're likely going to need Porzingis.

So far, there has not been a definite update as to how long the Celtics expect Porzingis to be sidelined. Prior to his injury, he had been averaging 12.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocked shots with splits of 38.9 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting from the three point line and 92.9 percent shooting from the field in over the course of four playoff games.

Porzingis had been the Celtics starting center alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday and Derrick White in the starting lineup. With Porzingis sidelined, the Celtics have turned to veteran big man Al Horford as the starting center.

During the playoffs so far, Horford has been averaging 8.8 points per game, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists with splits of 47.3 percent shooting from the field, 32 percent shooting from the three point line and 50 percent shooting from the free throw line. During Game 6 against the Cavs, Horford had a throw back performance with 22 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, one steal and three blocked shots.

The Celtics have been the top title favorite for most of the regular season. Last year they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals only to fall to the No. 8 seeded Heat. The year prior, they reached the NBA Finals but lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.