The Boston Celtics probably will be able to scratch their basketball itch soon.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday the team expects to be able to face the Orlando Magic on Friday at TD Garden. Celtics players still must undergo COVID-19 tests, but Ainge is hoping at least eight of them will test negative, allowing the game to go ahead.
“I think that our players are all doing well,” Ainge said, per The Associated Press. “We have some that are in contact tracing also. All of our players are doing well, and it looks like we’re going to be able to play a game tomorrow. But we still have 17 more tests to do between now and then.
The Celtics haven’t played since last Friday. The NBA postponed Boston’s last three games — which originally were scheduled for Sunday versus the Miami Heat, Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls and Wednesday versus the Magic — after some players, Jayson Tatum reportedly among them, tested positive for COVID-19, and contact-tracing protocols ruled out others.
Like the other Celtics, Ainge is anxious for Boston to return from the unexpected break, but he acknowledges the importance of testing.
“Each of these tests, you’re just on pins and needles, right now, the way that our society has gone,” he said.
The 7-3 Celtics top the Eastern Conference standings and have the second-highest winning percentage in the NBA. Will their fine form continue after they return?