Kristaps Porzingis will miss the FIBA World Cup with a foot injury, costing Team Latvia its best player. The Boston Celtics, however, expect him to be cleared by training camp in October after a four-to-six-week rehab program.
The big man confirmed the news in his native language on social media, saying the plantar fasciitis in his foot is still preventing him from playing after several weeks of rehab and MRIs. He said it was a joint decision between Latvia's medical staff, coaching staff and the Celtics.
It's an awkwardly timed injury for Porzingis, who has frequently dealt with injuries in his career. The Celtics acquired him in a three-way trade from the Washington Wizards in June, sending away former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart as well as Mike Muscala, Danilo Gallinari and a draft pick.
Later that month, the Celtics doubled down on him with a two-year, $60 million contract.
Porzingis posted some of the best numbers of his career last season with the Wizards, averaging 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game, while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.5% from 3-point range. Playing with the Celtics figures to provide a different challenge, though, given that offensive opportunities abounded on the moribund Wizards.
In Boston, Porzingis figures to be more of a complementary piece to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, providing floor spacing, rim running and size inside and outside the paint for a team that lacked consistent scoring outside of its star pair.
Without Porzingis, Latvia's World Cup chances are looking even more dire. They are scheduled to play in Group H with Canada, Lebanon and France. Porzingis now has roughly a month and a half to heal in time for Celtics training camp, with veterans allowed to report on Oct. 2.