Kristaps Porzingis will not play for his native Latvia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup later this month, he announced on social media on Tuesday. Porzingis, who was traded to the Boston Celtics this offseason, is dealing with plantar fasciitis and has not been cleared to participate.
Porzingis' statement (via translation):
"It is difficult, I feel very responsible to myself and the supporters of the Latvian national team, but a decision has been made that I will not play in the World Cup.
"After several weeks of recovery and a repeat MRI examination, the plantar fasciitis of my foot still prevents me from being on the field in full readiness.
"This joint decision has been made by both the medical staff and coaching staff of the national team, as well as the Celtics team - with the advice and opinion that it is now necessary to continue the recovery process.
"Such a decision is not easy to make, but I promise that I will be there and support the team as much as I can."
Initial reports that Porzingis had suffered an injury started circulating earlier in the month, but the Latvian Basketball Association strongly denied them in a social media post on Aug. 10. What changed in the last few days remains unclear, but based on the injury and the timeline it seems likely that Porzingis, 28, has been managing the issue for a while, and a final decision was not made until Tuesday.
He is exepcted to be ready for Celtics training camp.
Boston Celtics say Kristaps Porzingis will go through four-to-six-weeks of rehab for plantar fasciitis and is expected to be cleared for start of training camp.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 16, 2023
Porzingis' absence is a major blow to Latvia's hopes in their first ever World Cup appearance. He is by far their best player and one of two NBA players on the current roster along with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Davis Bertans. Latvia has been drawn into Group H along with Canada, France and Lebanon. They will play their first-stage games from Aug. 25-29, and will need to finish in the top-two to advance.
The nature of plantar fasciitis makes determining an exact timeline for Porzingis' return difficult, but with 10 weeks until the start of the upcoming NBA season, he should be ready for opening night. Still, this is not what the Boston Celtics would have been hoping to hear after trading for him in a blockbuster deal this offseason. Porzingis' talent has never been in question, but his ability to stay healthy has been.