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Udoka: Jaylen Brown is expected to miss 1-2 weeks

Boston will need to dig deep to replace the scoring of its best player so far this year.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics will be without Jaylen Brown for the short term as the team announced that he’ll be missing around 1-2 weeks with a hamstring strain that he sustained in the third quarter of the blowout win against the Miami Heat on Thursday evening.

This is obviously not ideal as the Celtics have started out the season in a not-ideal fashion, sitting at 4-6. However, there have been plenty of positive signs for the team since the fantastic meltdown against the Chicago Bulls a week ago. The team responded with back-to-back dominant defensive showings, including one against the Heat – one of the top teams in the league right now. Additionally, while a last-minute foul by Marcus Smart proved too costly, the second half against the Dallas Mavericks showed what this team can be when locked in.

Speaking of Smart, if there was a time for him to shake himself out of this shooting slump that was first birthed by what appeared to be a severe non-COVID sickness to start the year, it’s right now with Brown sitting out. Smart has performed admirably in other areas of the game, but the Celtics will need him to tap into 2021 Nets series Smart to fill the gap that Brown’s team-high scoring will leave and as more burden falls on Jayson Tatum.

Other players who can step up include Aaron Nesmith, who played a huge role alongside Romeo Langford in the win against Miami. If Dennis Schröder continues to start alongside Marcus Smart in the backcourt (a choice that’s questionable, in all honesty), Payton Pritchard will have plenty of opportunity to impact the game with his speed and range.

If Brown is out just one week, he’ll miss a rematch against the Toronto Raptors, the team that “punked” Boston in its home debut, a match against the defending champ (but also struggling) Milwaukee Bucks, and a back-to-back against the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers who are by no means an easy win.

If Brown’s absence extends (likely a wise idea), he’ll miss another match against the Cavs in a weird schedule quirk that’ll leave Boston there from Saturday to at least Monday, a match against the struggling Atlanta Hawks, and a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Lakers (who will be without LeBron James) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (the kryptonite to the Lakers this season).

Jaylen Brown certainly shouldn’t rush. Boston’s defense is catching its stride, so it would be nice if that carried to the team to an above-.500 record by the time he makes his return. So far this season, Brown is averaging a career-high 25.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on a career-high 49.3 percent shooting from the field and a career-high 39.7% from behind the 3-point line.

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