The injury bug has been an issue for the Celtics all season but it has struck them repeatedly in the past few days. As of Monday’s practice, nearly half of the team’s 15-man roster was dealing with some form of injury or illness. Here’s a rundown of the ailments that Brad Stevens is dealing with as he attempts to piece a gameplan together:
Gordon Hayward (ankle): Out for season Daniel Theis (torn meniscus): Out for season Jaylen Brown (concussion): Out indefinitely Marcus Smart (sprained thumb): Out indefinitely Kyrie Irving (knee tendonitis): Out indefinitely Al Horford (illness): Unknown return date, would assume later this week
If Horford can’t play on Wednesday night against the Wizards, that would leave the Celtics with just 11 healthy players on their roster, even with two-way players like Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen in uniform. Six of those players would be rookies. Shane Larkin is also dealing with a minutes limit (15-20) due to a knee issue.
While it’s fair to assume Horford will be back on the floor at some point this week, the same can’t be said for the remainder of the C’s injury list. Brown, Smart and Irving could all miss significant time with their ailments, especially as the C’s try to get everyone healthy for a playoff push in April. That begs the question: will Danny Ainge be able to bring in reinforcements for this undermanned squad in the interim? The answer is potentially, but he’ll have to wait a little while to do so. Let’s break down the C’s options and the NBA’s criteria for offering roster help when injuries pile up: