Celtics F Kristaps Porzingis out for FIBA World Cup with foot injury

Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis watches from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Washington. The Wizards won 100-97. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Kristaps Porzingis will miss the FIBA World Cup with a foot injury, costing Team Latvia its best player and giving the Boston Celtics something to worry about with training camp around the corner.

The big man confirmed the news in his native language on social media, saying that 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 unclear when Porzingis sustained the injury, but German journalist Rupert Fabig reported there was a potential issue on Aug. 9. The Latvian basketball federation denied the report.

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, 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 32.6 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.

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