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Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis made his return from a rare lower leg injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks and earned his first championship ring, but that doesn't mean he's back to full strength. The Celtics announced that Porzingis underwent surgery to repair a torn retinculum and dislocated posterior tibialis suffered during Game 2 of the Finals, and he's expected to be sidelined for 5-6 months. 

The Celtics previously confirmed that Porzingis will not play for Latvia during its upcoming Olympic qualifying bid, nor will he be able to participate if Latvia earns a bid to Paris.

With the timeline set by the Celtics, that means Porzingis will miss the start of next season and will make a season debut somewhere around late December or maybe early January. While the Celtics would like to have him for the entirety of the season, the Celtics just spent the better part of a championship run with him sidelined. He made a significant impact in the NBA Finals when he returned, but Boston's depth ensures that being without K.P. won't make the entire team crumble, especially at the start of a season. 

Watching how Porzingis returns from this injury will be key, and as long as he's at peak levels by next year's playoffs, there shouldn't be any concern about the missed time.

"A lot of effort went into all of this and also for myself, just being hurt and trying to push through it," Porzingis said last week while celebrating in the locker room after winning the championship. "I think today was the pinnacle of that. My leg is not great, but I gave everything I could to the team and we are the world champs."

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla had said before Game 5 that Porzingis was further along in his recovery than he was after Game 4, and he was not on a minutes restriction for the championship clincher. Porzingis came off the bench in Game 5 and gave his team five points and one rebound in 16 minutes. While he was a +5 in the box score, it was clear that Porzingis was playing compromised.

Porzingis was excellent in the first two games, averaging 16 points, five rebounds and 2.5 blocks, and the team was +25 in his 44 minutes. His shooting ability allowed the Celtics to play their favored five-out style and put the Mavericks in a tough spot defensively. On the other end, he was the team's lone true rim protector, and made the Mavericks think when he's out there. 

The 7-foot-2 Latvian missed the majority of the Eastern Conference playoffs after straining his calf in Game 4 of the Celtics' first-round series versus the Miami Heat, but returned for Game 1 of the Finals. Unfortunately for him and the Celtics, he went down again late in Game 2 with a "torn medial retinaculum, allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon" in his left leg

Thanks in large part to Porzingis' efforts early in the series, the Celtics built a 3-0 lead. After bouncing back from a Game 4 loss, they pulled off their first title win since 2008 and their 18th in franchise history.