Only three big men are being asked to fill void for Boston Celtics after Kristaps Porzingis injury

Jan 16, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Boston Celtics center Luke Kornet (40) and center Al
Jan 16, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Boston Celtics center Luke Kornet (40) and center Al / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

According to MassLive's Souichi Terada, Joe Mazzulla will be turning to Al Horford, Luke Kornet, and Xavier Tillman to soak up the minutes for the Boston Celtics in the frontcourt in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Miami Heat after Kristaps Porzingis suffered an injury in Game 3.

Missing from Terada's list is former two-way big man Neemias Queta, who had his contract guaranteed before the postseason. Increasingly, it's looking like Queta being signed was a goodwill move meant to boost morale in the locker room rather than a basketball move.

If Queta can't find the floor without Porzingis in the lineup, there's no situation where he would; barring another injury, which would be nothing short of catastrophic if it was Horford.

Kristaps Porzingis could miss Boston Celtics' east semifinals series

It's possible that Porzingis's absence will extend into the Eastern Conference Semifinals -- which is all but a foregone conclusion barring a 2016 Golden State Warriors-esque collapse to the Heat -- given the typical recovery time for his injury.

In Street Clothes' Jeff Stotts broke down his injury and how long it may take for Porzingis to return.

"KP suffered the same injury that is currently keeping Giannis sidelined," Stotts prefaced before saying, "As I mentioned then, the soleus is a part of the calf muscle complex. The average time lost for strains specified as a soleus injury is ~17 days (6 games)."

Porzingis suffering the same injury as Giannis Antetokounmpo gives the 2024 postseason 2021 NBA Playoffs vibes. And not in a good way.

The Latvian big is a critical piece in Boston's Banner 18 bid, and while they might be able to survive a series against the Cleveland Cavaliers or Orlando Magic, things will get tougher in the Eastern Conference Finals and then exponentially tougher than that in the Finals.