NBA teams aren’t immune to injury bugs. But the Boston Celtics seem to have brought on the plague.
The Celtics have endured a frightening amount of injuries over the last several days. The rash started last Thursday with Jaylen Brown, who suffered a concussion after a scary fall against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It continued in earnest Sunday, where four players either sat out or were injured in Boston’s consequential loss to the Indiana Pacers.
So, what’s the latest on the Celtics’ walking wounded — and who on this team is actually healthy? Here’s a list of every injured C’s player and when they could return:
Gordon Hayward: fractured tibia/dislocated ankle, out for season(?)
Daniel Theis: torn meniscus in left knee, out for season
Jaylen Brown: concussion, out indefinitely (will miss at least one week)
Marcus Smart: sprained right thumb, out indefinitely
Kyrie Irving: left knee soreness, day-to-day (may miss a few games)
Al Horford: illness, day-to-day
Shane Larkin: right knee soreness, minutes restriction
As ESPN’s Chris Forsberg points out, that’s four of Boston’s five starters who are on the shelf, three of which are All-Stars (four if you count Hayward, who was an All-Star in Utah last season).
Horford should be back soon, and Irving likely will only miss a handful of games. But for now, this list of healthy C’s doesn’t exactly inspire confidence:
While the frontcourt is relatively unscathed outside Theis, the backcourt looks more like a Maine Red Claws roster than a team expected to make a deep playoff run.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they have a little breathing room with which to work. Boston enters Tuesday 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference but seven games ahead of the third-place Indiana Pacers.
That leaves head coach Brad Stevens with two goals: hold onto the No. 2 seed and get everyone healthy for the playoffs. If Stevens manages minutes well and no further disaster strikes, he should have everyone but Hayward and Theis at his disposal come mid-April, which would be the best-case scenario for a fragile Celtics team trying to pick up the pieces after a rough week.
Thumbnail photo via Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports Images
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