The Celtics will be missing Jaylen Brown for the second straight game (knee) along with Semi Ojeleye for a third (back). Marcus Morris has been listed as “available,” which seems to indicate a limited role as he continues to attempt a comeback from his knee injury. He missed Wednesday’s win over Charlotte and shot 1-of-7 in 15 minutes against Washington.
Houston is suffering too, struggling to keep their newly acquired all-star point guard Chris Paul on the court this season. He missed 14 straight games after the Rockets’ opening night win with a knee injury, and is out tonight with a groin injury, which the team called an adductor strain.
Clint Capela is out as expected with a right orbital fracture, Luc Mbah a Moute will sit with a right shoulder ailment and Troy Williams remains down with a right MCL sprain.
The status of Brown and Ojeleye going forward is murky. Brown has officially been listed with an injured knee, alleviating the prior achilles concern. He traveled to Charlotte, but could not play.
"He hasn't loaded that knee yet to test it at the level that he would need to,” Brad Stevens said. He added that Brown felt better Wednesday.
Ojeleye attempted to play on Christmas, per Stevens, but the back pain was too much. He’s since remained inactive.
As the team stated, Morris will be playing sporadically and avoiding back-to-backs as he did yesterday to continue his slow, cautious recovery from his knee concern. His latest extended absence “(felt) like something new” aside from his knee injury early in the season, according to Adam Himmelsbach.
Against the Hornets Stevens extended the bench, giving Shane Larkin 24 minutes, Terry Rozier 26, Daniel Theis 16 and Guerschon Yabusele nine. Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen are with the team but did not play.