The injury bug might have been manageable for the Boston Celtics on their road to the 2024 NBA Finals, but it has finally caught up to them against the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics were subjected to one of the biggest blowouts on the largest stage in all of basketball, and more reinforcements would have helped. Head coach Joe Mazzulla had a revolving door of big men to compensate for the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, with Al Horford and Xavier Tillman largely being the guys to shoulder that extra workload.

Obviously, the Celtics are a different team when they have Porzingis on the floor. His lethal and quick clip shot from outside makes opponents regret playing zone or any other scheme that leaves him open. The injury clearly bogged him down when he tried to play through it late in Game 2, which is why Mazzulla chose to not play him in Game 4 despite the fact he was made available. His status for Game 5 appears to be up in the air, which is why some recent comments from Tillman quickly caught the attention of Celtics' fans everywhere.

Obviously, it’s a rare leg injury. If he's in excruciating pain & can't be his best, it might not be worth it. We go to practices and stuff. He's doing some stuff but you can tell he's very uncomfortable. Like I said, we don't want to put him in any type of situation that could really hurt him. It's been pretty much the same.

The Celtics have a big decision to make with Kristaps Porzingis in Game 5

Jun 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 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. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
© Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Porzingis suffered a torn medial retinaculum in Boston's Game 2 win over Dallas. There are only a few cases of this documented in the world of sports, so it's made an already complex situation for the Celtics medical team even more difficult. Understandably, this is going to be a long and grueling process of recovery for Porzingis. This is why his availability for Game 4 was such a surprise for fans.

Prior to this injury, Porzingis was already having his fair share of injury issues. He suffered a calf injury in Game 4 of the Celtics first-round series against the Miami Heat, which held him out of action all the way up until Game 1 of the Finals against the Mavs. And then in only his second game back, he suffered this injury which has thrown his status for the rest of the series in doubt.

Game 4 was then a wake-up call for the rest of his Celtics teammates. They were demolished by a score of 122-84 and ended up waving the white flag in the third quarter. If there truly is a lot of discomfort and pain coursing through Porzingis, no gamble should be made regarding his health, despite the outcome of the latest game. Schemes and rotations are going to be left in shambles if the Celtics choose to play him while he struggles. More importantly, a lot of years in his career could be lost due to this risky decision. There are a lot of reasons to love and trust the Celtics. They have made the right calls before and are capable of making one in the coming days for Porzingis.