WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics finally will take on an NBA opponent, but they’ll do so with a bit of a depleted roster.
Guard Marcus Smart missed Tuesday’s practice with an illness and won’t travel with the team to play in Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets, head coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens added Smart, who apparently has a fever, could join the team later in the week and play in Friday night’s preseason tilt against the New York Knicks if his health improves.
Rookie guard Terry Rozier, meanwhile, will be on the shelf for both contests because of a left knee injury he suffered early in training camp. Rozier tried to play through the injury in Europe but experienced swelling, so the Celtics will hold him out for a few days after he had the knee drained earlier this week.
Stevens also said there’s a “good chance” Avery Bradley won’t play Wednesday night, but it simply would be a rest day for the 24-year-old guard.
With several key players on the bench, it will be up to the rest of the roster to make their case for inclusion in Boston’s crowded rotation.
“I’ve got an idea of who plays well with who,” Stevens said Tuesday. “How that all separates itself with playing time and everything else, time will tell. We’re going to play without some guys (Wednesday), so it will be a great opportunity for some other guys to have a chance to play, and probably the same thing on Friday.”
Let’s check out a few other tidbits from Tuesday’s practice:
— Isaiah Thomas finally will have a chance to start (it’s the preseason, but still).
The talented point guard should start against the Nets with Smart, Rozier and Bradley on the bench, according to Stevens. The coach said he’ll likely pair Thomas with Evan Turner, since he believed the pair worked well together last season.
“We found success with him and Isaiah playing together last year,” Stevens said. “Sometimes Evan had it in Isaiah’s space. They just kind of figured it out together.”
— Turner should be ready to go after missing both games in Europe with a minor injury. According to Stevens, it’s been pretty hard to keep Turner off the court.
“If there was a game at the Y(MCA) tomorrow and Evan wasn’t in the NBA, he’d probably find it,” Stevens said. “He’s one of the guys that, for 82 games, you don’t worry about the passion ever becoming a factor.”
— Speaking of playing at the YMCA, the Celtics got a little more informal Tuesday during the brief period of practice open to the media.
That’s a travel, Evan.
Thumbnail photo via Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports Images