The Boston Celtics suffered more than merely another tally in the loss column during their last trip to Orlando over the weekend, as they now face the prospect of losing starting forward Jae Crowder for an uncertain period of time.
The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported Monday morning that Crowder would miss today's practice with a sore right shin, leaving his availability for tomorrow night's meeting with the New York Knicks in doubt.
Jae Crowder (bruised right shin) will not practice today. He says he's unsure whether he'll be able to go tomorrow night vs Knicks.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) February 1, 2016
Crowder couldn't confirm exactly when the injury occurred, but he believes it was the result of getting kicked in the shin during the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the Orlando Magic. He exited the game with 3:30 remaining in the quarter, but Crowder's uncertainty suggests that the time stamp doesn't necessarily coincide with when the injury occurred. He would return later in the fourth quarter, but was ineffective down the stretch as the Celtics coughed up a lead they had held for most of the night.
The severity of the injury remains unknown, but Crowder revealed that his shin was still sore the next day. He optimistically predicted it was merely a bruise, but also conceded that trainer Ed Lacerte is concerned that it might be a strain.
The Celtics will keep their fingers crossed that the injury isn't serious, as losing Crowder would be a significant blow to the team. Not only is he developing into one of the team's best players, but the Celtics are thin at his position. Crowder's 32.1 minutes are the third most on the team, so coach Brad Stevens would need to get pretty creative in order to adjust his rotation to fill the void left by Crowder's absence.
Evan Turner would be a likely candidate to start if Crowder misses time, while Stevens could turn to more three-guard lineups with Isaiah Thomas sharing the floor with both Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart.
Following an off day on Monday the Celtics play back-to-back games as part of a set of three games in four nights. Even if he were to miss only a week with the injury it would potentially cost Crowder three pivotal games against Eastern Conference foes. Boston could sure use his gritty defense when they face off against the likes of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James during this upcoming stretch.
Get well soon, Jae.