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Report: Porzingis could return by Game 4 of Eastern Conference Finals

Report: Porzingis could return by Game 4 of Eastern Conference Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Celtics star big man Kristaps Porzingis could return to action by Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports there's "growing optimism" Porzingis could be back by Game 4 while "accelerating his on-court ramp up and increasing his fitness."

Porzingis will look to return for the first time in nearly a month after suffering a right calf strain in Game 4 of the first round vs. the Miami Heat. The Celtics have still managed to find success without their primary paint presence and third-highest scorer, wrapping up both their opening round against Miami and their conference semifinals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games.

Not wanting to rush the 7-foot-2 big man back, the Celtics have trusted in their depth. Filling in for Porzingis in the starting lineup, veteran Al Horford averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and a block throughout the conference semifinals, including 22 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in Game 5.

Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum put an additional emphasis on crashing the boards, averaging 10.4 rebounds per game in Porzingis' absence, which is about two more than his regular season average.

Prior to going down with his injury, Porzingis was averaging 12.3 points, 5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game through his four games in the playoffs.