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Payton Pritchard dodges a bullet, will be sidelined for two weeks with Grade 1 MCL sprain

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This is extremely fortunate injury news for the Celtics.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Payton Pritchard and the Boston Celtics dodge a huge bullet with the news that instead of an ACL tear or something of the same nature, the injury that caused Pritchard immense pain will only keep him out of action for a few weeks and isn’t as bad as initially feared.

Pritchard sustained the injury in the first half when Dwight Howard (who should have been called for a foul) bumped Jaylen Brown en route to an offensive rebound. As Brown went crashing to the floor, he hit Pritchard’s knee from a sideways angle, immediately leading to him being curled up in pain on the floor. Everything about the video suggested a worse injury, including the fact that Pritchard couldn’t put any pressure on it.

The Celtics ruled him out of the game a little bit later, citing a “right knee sprain” which offered some hope, but because there wouldn’t have been enough time to do an MRI, most were cautious about what the injury would end up being. Now we know that it’s just a Grade 1 MCL sprain. That’s quite literally the best case scenario based on how bad things looked on camera.

If you would have told me before this season started that losing FastPP for any amount of time would severely hamper the Celtics, I would have laughed at you. Pritchard’s emergence has been incredible, and it’s also been instrumental for the team to be where it is in the standings now. He’s way ahead of schedule, and with Jeff Teague struggling, it’s been amazing seeing how much he impacts winning.

Without Pritchard, the Celtics will have to hope that Teague can channel what he did against Milwaukee in the season opener more often because he’s struggled mightily since then. With Pritchard’s absence not being too lengthy, it’s unlikely the Celtics will make any roster moves. The Celtics will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow evening, and in addition to Pritchard, the Celtics will continue to be without Jayson Tatum as he makes his way out of the league’s health and safety protocols.

Boston needs to take tomorrow’s game seriously. The Cavs are coming off of a two-game sweep of the new-look Brooklyn Nets. To prevent a fourth loss in a row, Jaylen Brown is going to need more consistent help as they face off against a frontcourt-heavy, Collin Sexton-led Cleveland team tomorrow night at 7:00 PM EST.