While the New Orleans Pelicans hobble into TD Garden to face the Celtics on Wednesday night, Boston is also dealing with its share of injuries.
About two hours prior to tipoff, the Celtics ruled out both Marcus Smart and Robert Williams for the contest. Smart suffered a left knee contusion in Saturday’s win over the San Antonio Spurs and hasn’t played since while Williams will sit out due to left knee injury rehabilitation.
Even with Williams earning the start Monday against the Chicago Bulls and playing his most minutes since returning from offseason knee surgery, the Celtics continue to proceed with caution with the difference-making center.
Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla revealed prior to the game that Williams won’t play in back-to-backs, a situation Boston is up against with a road matchup on deck versus the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
“Yeah, just manage him as much as we can,” Mazzulla told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “But he’s coming back good every single day. So, that’s really good.”
In 10 games since returning, Williams has averaged 7.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game while providing some highlight-reel plays.
As for Smart, Mazzulla considers the veteran guard day-to-day in his recovery and expects Smart as well as Williams to be with the team when they kick off playing six of their next seven games on the road starting in Brooklyn, per The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.
For Smart, who is averaging a career-high 7.2 assists per game, the tilt against the Pelicans will be his sixth game he has missed this season.