Josh Richardson has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and will not be available tonight in Phoenix. The Celtics are already without Jaylen Brown against the Suns tonight and Dennis Schroder is questionable with a sprained ankle.
In Brown’s absence, Schroder has replaced Brown in the starting lineup and Richardson has slid in as the de facto sixth man off the bench. With all three potentially unavailable, look for Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, and Payton Pritchard to get extra run against the league’s second best defense.
If Richardson did test positive for COVID, the long term prospect has some positives and negatives. After tonight, the Celtics return to Boston after the five-game road trip out west. They host the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night and then enjoy a long break before back-to-back games against the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks on Friday and Saturday and a one-day trip to Philadelphia next Monday. Richardson’s required ten-day quarantine would then be over.
As mentioned, Richardson’s unavailability does create an opportunity for some of the young players to step into his playing time, but Boston will no doubt miss Richardson’s production. After a rough start, he’s averaged 10 points a night in November and December and been a reliable perimeter defender.