All-Star wing Jaylen Brown was downgraded to out due to a left hip contusion. Brown suffered a few hard falls against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. At least one of those seems to have him banged up enough to miss Boston’s game vs New Orleans.
On the plus side, trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier was upgraded to available for the Celtics. Fournier was placed in the health and safety protocols upon his arrival to Boston, but has now cleared and is poised to makes his Celtics debut.
Brad Stevens previously said that Fournier would be immediately thrown in the mix when he was available. Stevens said that due to the condensed schedule, Fournier would have to be incorporated on the fly. The hope is that Fournier’s veteran experience will help make the transition easier.
For the season, Fournier has averaged a career-best 19.7 points per game on 46/39/80 shooting splits. Fournier is also averaging a career-high 3.7 assists per game.
Given Brown’s absence, and Stevens’ statement that Fournier will be thrown right in, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former Orlando Magic wing open his Boston tenure as a starter.
In addition to Brown being out, the Celtics will also be without Romeo Langford and Tristan Thompson. Both Langford and Thompson remain in the health and safety protocols. Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge recently expressed optimism both would return this week.
Langford has yet to play this season, after rehabbing from wrist surgery at the end of last season. The second-year wing has been cleared to return from that injury, but landed in the health and safety protocols following the All-Star break.
Semi Ojeleye also remains out for the Celtics. Ojeleye suffered a strained left side in Milwaukee last week.
In addition to welcoming Fournier for his first game in Boston, the Celtics will have fans in TD Garden for the first time this season. The timing of the fans’ return is good, as Monday starts a seven-game homestand for the Celtics over the next two weeks.