Newly acquired Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis won’t be playing in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, but he will be there to support his Latvian teammates nonetheless.
Porzingis, who was traded to the Celtics in June as part of blockbuster deal that sent Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies, is currently dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, an injury that will keep him sidelined for several weeks.
While the Latvian Basketball Association initially denied the injury, Porzingis later confirmed it on social media.
In a more recent interview with Sporta Studija, the 28-year-old discussed the “funny” injury.
“The foot hurts after exercise, I feel almost nothing when walking, a really funny injury,” Porzingis explained, via translation. “I have an idea what the origin of the injury might be, but it’s something that builds up over the course of a career and pops out at one point. It got worse during the training process — it started to hurt, then I couldn’t get rid of the inflammation.”
Though Porzingis will not play for Latvia in the World Cup (which is being hosted by Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines), he said it was important to him to still show up and support the national team.
“It’s not the ideal scenario that I imagined, but it is what it is,” Porziņgis said. “I wanted to be with the team. I came to continue my recovery process, to support the guys, to be connected with the national team.”
This differed from what his new NBA team wanted, but Porzingis said the Celtics were flexible (and that he appreciates it).
“Boston wanted me to continue my recovery there, but I told them it was very important for me to be with the national team even though I wasn’t playing,” he said. “They supported my decision. Also there, most likely, I will have a long season ahead of me. It is important now to spend time with my teammates in the national team, family at home. Boston respected all of that and supported me.”
Porzingis hopes to be ready for the upcoming NBA season. The Celtics begin preseason action in early October before a regular season opener in New York against the Knicks Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Hayden Bird can be reached at email@example.com.