Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis expected to return in Game 3 of Eastern Conference Finals

USATSI 23135045 168397130 lowres
USATSI 23135045 168397130 lowres

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis is expected to make his return from injury in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals later this month.

Porzingis has been sidelined since suffering a soleus strain of his right calf in Game 4 of the first round on April 30 against the Miami Heat but fortunately for the team, the Celtics haven’t missed a beat without their key big man.

Boston got rid of Miami in five games and did the same to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, with only the Indiana Pacers standing in their way as the final hurdle to reach a second NBA Finals in three seasons.

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, the former All-Star is expected to return in the later part of the Eastern Conference Finals and has been ramping up his on-court activity with the hope of suiting up in Game 3.

Porzingis averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 57 regular season outings for the Celtics this year, asserting himself as a key piece on a championship contending side under head coach Joe Mazzulla.

Boston’s All-NBA forward Jaylen Brown told the media that during Porzingis’ current period on the sidelines, he’s remained involved in team activities as much as he can.

“KP’s been great. Still very active. Been at every practice, making sure he’s still involved in every team huddle & just staying in the mix mentally even though physically he’s not fully there yet mentally he’s been engaged — that’s a great sign.”

The 28-year-old became one of the league’s most efficient post-up players this season and is considered by many to be essential in Boston’s hope’s of eclipsing a 16-year-long wait to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Massachusetts.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals begins on Tuesday night from TD Garden as the Celtics host the Indiana Pacers to begin the series, fighting to play one of the Minnesota Timberwolves or Dallas Mavericks in the Finals.

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