Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis returns to play for Game 5 of NBA Finals against Mavericks

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BOSTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis returned to the floor on Monday night as the Boston Celtics attempted to close out the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters before the game that Porzingis would be available and said, “We expect to see him tonight.” The 7-foot-2 Latvian drew a big cheer when he got off the Boston bench to check into the game with 6:49 left in the first quarter.

He missed his first shot, a 3-point attempt.

Mazzulla said Porzingis, who missed the previous two games because of a dislocated tendon in his left ankle, would not have a minutes restriction.

He was cleared to play a limited role in Game 4, but never took off his warmups during Boston’s 122-84 loss in Dallas. He had been listed as questionable Monday morning before going through an on-court workout about 2 1/2 hours before tipoff. The workout included shooting, some light-contact post work and lateral movement drills.

The Celtics have said that his tendon issue is unrelated to the calf strain Porzingis sustained April 29 in the first round against Miami that led to him missing 10 games.

Porzingis averaged 13.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in his first six games this postseason, including 20 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in Game 1 against Dallas.

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