Porzingis out but 'better than we thought' says Celtics coach

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Boston;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Boston</a>'s <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kristaps Porzingis;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kristaps Porzingis</a> is sidelined by a calf injury but the injury is not as bad as the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Celtics;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Celtics</a> had feared, coach Joe Mazzulla said (Winslow Townson)

Kristaps Porzingis was sidelined by a right calf injury for Boston's NBA second-round playoff opener against Cleveland on Tuesday but Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was optimistic about his recovery.

The 28-year-old Latvian forward was hurt in game four of Boston's Eastern Conference first-round victory over Miami and listed as out for Tuesday's best-of-seven opener against the Cavaliers on the Celtics NBA injury report.

While Mazzulla was uncertain when Porzingis might return, he told Boston's WBZ radio the injury was not as bad as the team had first feared.

"It's definitely better than we thought," Mazzulla said Tuesday.

"I think one thing about KP is -- I don't know what his timetable is but I know his mentality, and he really pushes himself to get back as quickly as he can.

"He does a great job working to take care of himself. He's walking a little bit better and every day he's in there doing whatever it takes to try to get back as fast as he can. I appreciate that."

Veteran Al Horford, a Dominican big man in his 17th NBA campaign, will fill in for Porzingis until his return.

"Al does a tremendous job taking care of himself and he's ready for situations like this. He's ready for the playoffs," Mazzulla said.

"One of the best things about a guy like Al is he loves being relied on, and he always answers when we rely on him. We've done a great job managing it throughout the year and we just have to continue that."

Porzingis averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 blocked shots a game for the Celtics, who went 22-4 when he was absent during the regular season on the way to an NBA-best 64-18 record.

Horford averaged 8.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 blocks a game this season.