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Jaylen Brown is making us proud and nervous at the same time

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Playing hurt is both gutsy and risky for Jaylen Brown and the Celtics.

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game Two Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Paul Pierce’s “wheelchair game,” Michael Jordan’s “flu game,” Willis Reed, and now Jalyen Brown’s “hammy game?”

In between tracking down loose balls, chasing Sixers through unforgiving screens, and throwing down monstrous dunks, Jaylen Brown gingerly walked around in obvious discomfort. “I think I’ll remember that game forever,” Brown said.

There’s a special place in sports lore set aside for players that play through sickness or injury. Words like “heroic,” “epic,” and “storybook” get tossed around like mixed salad. We applaud their guts and hold those moments up as inspiration to our kids.

All that is well deserved (to a point) but there’s always a hint of risk mixed in there too. Sometimes heroic efforts come at an epic cost to the player involved. Look no further than a year ago when Isaiah Thomas played through pain and may have ended up costing himself a Brinks Truck worth of cash in the process. Or go back further and consider that Kevin McHale is still walks with a limp from playing the final three months with a broken foot in the 1987 NBA Playoffs.

NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Which brings us to Jaylen Brown, who admittedly had a much different injury than any of the above mentioned players. He had a strained hamstring (no tear) which Brad Stevens described as “below a grade one.”

Still, he was clearly still bothered by the injury and played through it (and played pretty well). Via the Globe:

Brown, who was initially listed as probable, told reporters he went against the advice of his doctors to play. He said he was powered by “adrenaline” throughout the game.

“That can be the scary part, too, because you don’t feel anything,” he said. “As I got going, I felt better.”

The 20-year-old admitted he’s “not really sure” about the risk of re-injury, but estimated it’s “sizable.” He said the decision to play tonight was his call, adding that he doesn’t anticipate missing any games moving forward.

That whole quote makes me nervous. I’m sure Jaylen knows his body better than anyone, but as he said, the adrenaline can mask issues that could make things worse in the long run. He wasn’t really sure about the risk of re-injury, but decided to just wing it anyway. As much as we laud Jaylen’s maturity and intellect (all well deserved), that kinda sounds like a 21-year-old to me.

If I’m coming across like an overprotective father right now, consider that I am one. I guess I just see so much bright future ahead for Jaylen and his teammates that I don’t want anything to jeopardize that. A hamstring injury (even a pretty severe one) would probably only end his season, not his career. It just makes me cringe to see a non-contact injury.

With all of that said, it seems like he got through the game without re-injury. If he takes care of himself and monitors the injury, he should be fine. He may even play the rest of the postseason. Which is really great for the Celtics because he’s such a key performer for this team.