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Kristaps Porzingis overrode Celtics medical staff to play in Game 5

Cedric Maxwell celebrates Celtics' NBA championship -- and sends message to the Lakers
Cedric Maxwell celebrates Celtics' NBA championship -- and sends message to the Lakers 01:58

BOSTON -- Kristaps Porzingis said that he was willing to die on the floor to win a championship, so nothing was going to stop the Celtics' big man from playing in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Not his displaced tendon, and not the Celtics medical staff.

Porzingis will have to undergo surgery this offseason for the rare tendon injury he suffered during Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Mavericks, but he was able to give Boston 16 minutes in Monday night's clinching Game 5. He only scored five points, but his availability gave Al Horford a break during the game, and the Celtics beat the Mavs to clinch the franchise's 18th title.

Porzingis didn't play in Games 3 or 4 of the series, despite being ruled "available" ahead of the latter. Had the Celtics been in a position to clinch with a Game 4 win in Dallas, Porzingis likely would have made an appearance, as Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla revealed Wednesday on Pardon My Take. But aside from a few minute at the end of a blowout, it was an extreme "break glass in case of emergency" situation -- for a "critical" jump ball or for end-of-game defense at the rim -- per Mazzulla. The Celtics were blown out that night, so Porzingis never entered the game.

"If we were winning, I would have put him in for a minute or two because he sacrificed his whole career to get to this point. To not be a part of it would be devastating to him," said Mazzulla. "He had a serious injury and worked his ass off to get back. What he brought for us in Game 5 was unbelievable and really led to winning."

Porzingis didn't want to miss any time after he suffered the injury, but the Boston medical staff overruled him. That was not the case come Game 5, when Mazzulla said that Porzingis went against the wishes of the team's doctors.

"It was like, we don't know how long the series is going to go on for. Let's try to save him from himself because he was trying to play. Let's see if he can get through a game or two," Mazzula said of the team's approach with Porzingis. "Then, when it was Game 5 at home, it was like, 'Hey, this might be it, I got to be out there.' So he was like, 'I'm playing.' So he overrode the medical team. A credit to him."

Porzingis was all smiles after the game, dismissing any concern over his injury. He did say that there was added risk by playing, but he didn't care. He also praised the Celtics' medical staff for all of their work to get him back on the floor -- even if he went against their wishes to do so. 

"The medical staff was, like, unbelievable support for me and got me back out there somehow," Porzingis said Monday night. "And, man, I'm super thankful for them. And, yeah, I gave everything I could. I gave everything I could. And, man, it feels great to be a champion."

Porzingis didn't say when he'd have his surgery, but told ESPN his recovery period will be "a few months."

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