There shouldn’t be too much to worry about. If Marcus Smart was probable going into the game, it’s unlikely that this is a serious problem that will persist. At just 14 games into the season, being safe is way better than being sorry.
The same goes for Malcolm Brogdon who was questionable before being ruled out. At first, it seemed as if this might be the game in which he returns after sitting out since last Friday’s game against Denver with right hamstring tightness. Brogdon has been labeled as injury-prone for the last few seasons, so in his case especially, caution appears to be the right approach. If he was this close to playing tonight, there’s optimism that he’ll return before the week’s end.
This just means it’s another opportunity for the Celtics to flex their depth. Guard is one of the deeper positions on this team that currently holds the best record in the NBA over 1/8th of the season in. Payton Pritchard is certainly good enough to be a backup guard in the league, and he’s been mostly DNP-CDs just by virtue of having better players ahead of him on the depth chart. Pritchard and Derrick White played instrumental roles in the comeback win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, so it’ll be interesting to see if they keep the momentum up on both ends tonight.
The Celtics will need a lot of production defensively in the backcourt against the Atlanta Hawks. In addition to All-NBA-caliber guard Trae Young, they also added Dejounte Murray who’s a triple-double machine. The Celtics will have their handful contending with that while also trying to keep John Collins and Clint Capela off the boards.
The shorthanded Celtics will take on the Hawks tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.