Given the success of the Hospital Celtics of 2017-18, it probably bodes well for the Boston Celtics of 2020-21 to already be off to a hospital-y start. On that note, Daniel Theis has been downgraded to OUT as the Celtics gear up for their preseason debut against the new-look Philadelphia 76ers.
#NEBHInjuryReport Daniel Theis says his back is still feeling "a little sore" and so he will not play tonight. "It’s early, so there’s no reason to risk anything. Just take it day-by-day."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 15, 2020
It’s a little concerning that just after training camp, Theis is experiencing a little soreness. On the other hand, it’s encouraging reading his comments indicating that it’s nothing serious. Given the frontcourt depth that the Celtics have between Grant Williams, Robert Williams, Tristan Thompson, and yes, Tacko Fall, Boston can afford to take things a bit easier with Theis in the early goings of the season.
In fact, Boston should taking things easier for everyone. The goal isn’t to be the best team in January; the Celtics hope to still be playing in July. That’s why Theis will be joined by Tristan Thompson (hamstring), Kemba Walker (left knee strengthening) and Romeo Langford (wrist surgery recovery) on the bench this evening. This leaves the Celtics a little thin up front, but it also gives the team a good look at what some of the younger players can offer. With the kind of season we’re looking at, the younger guys will be relied on a lot to carry the team through a lot of uncertainty. This is the first look.
Lineups aren’t official yet, but I’d anticipate that Robert Williams starts at center considering the opposition is a very large body in Joel Embiid. Grant Williams will also probably start along with the core trio of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Behind Grant and Timelord is just Tacko Fall out of all of the guaranteed contracts. Amile Jefferson, who’s on an Exhibition 10 deal, might get some run, and the Celtics will probably go small on a few occasions.
Tonight’s game isn’t meaningful from a results standpoint, but we will learn plenty from what we do see. Time to kick off another year of basketball!
The Philadelphia 76ers will visit the Boston Celtics in Boston tonight on TNT at 7:30 PM EST.