Heading into arguably the most important game of the regular season, the Celtics enter tonight’s pivotal match up in Indiana without a healthy roster:
#NEBHInjuryReport for tomorrow vs Indiana:— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 4, 2019
Jaylen Brown (low back spasms) - DOUBTFUL
Al Horford (left knee soreness) - PROBABLE
Marcus Morris (right knee soreness) - OUT
Marcus Morris’ absence isn’t too surprising. He’s missed games over the last two seasons with a balky knee and with his shooting down since the All-Star break, getting him all the way right makes sense with just a week before the playoffs begin. The more worrisome injury is Jaylen Brown’s back.
From The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach before Brown missed his second straight game in Miami:
Jaylen Brown says he’s still in a good deal of pain. He’s having trouble turning his torso and visibly struggled to sit down in the locker room. But he said he still hopes to play Friday.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 3, 2019
Jaylen Brown on his back spasms: "I’ve never experienced it [like this] where it’s hard to bend down, it’s hard to stand up, or put your socks on."— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 3, 2019
More Jaylen on his back spasms: "I’m uncomfortable just sitting down right now. It’s like my back feels like it’s just like squeezing together. It’s hard to reach over, hard to move to the left, move to the right. It’s like a sharp pain, plus the tightness.”— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 3, 2019
In his weekly call with Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Danny Ainge described Brown’s injury as “one of those freaky back spasms.” Ainge continued, “it’s hard to explain but he has back spasms and they usually take a few days and we’re hoping he can be ready to go here soon.”
Jaylen has been on a tear since the All-Star break as the Celtics’ fourth leading scorer at nearly 14 points per game on 50% shooting and 41.1% from behind the arc. He’s used his athleticism to attack the paint more in the half court and get out and run in transition. Back spasms zap all that out.
The Celtics and Pacers are currently tied at 47-32 with Boston holding the head-to-head tie break and a game up in terms of conference record. With just three games left, Friday’s winner controls their destiny in terms of home court advantage in Round 1 of the playoffs. Indiana is a little banged up, too. Their starting back court of Wesley Matthews and Darren Collison are questionable with a right hamstring strain and groin strain respectively. Both have missed the last two games. A week ago, the Celtics eked out a 114-112 win, but that was in Boston and with a full roster.