Celtics

Celtics Notebook: Jayson Tatum is ready for Game 1, Jaylen Brown happy to start or come off bench

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Celtics may have lost Marcus Smart on the injury front this week, but the news has been good when it comes to the rest of the team's health over the last few days. The C's held their third and final practice of the weekend before their series against the Pacers kicks off on Sunday.

Jayson Tatum was bothered by a bruised shin but has participated fully over the last couple of days and Brad Stevens says he's good to go for Game 1. Jaylen Brown has played a couple of games since returning from back spasms last week but his progress continues to move in the right direction.

"I'm feeling good," he said Saturday. "It's Christmas time. This is the best time of the year, for sure. My back has been getting better every day. There's a little bit of tightness, but the more and more I get treatment, the more and more the days pass, I don't even feel it, so I'll be fine."

Brown appears poised to be the starting shooting guard on Sunday afternoon in place of an injured Smart. Stevens refused to reveal his hand on the starter ahead of time, but Gordon Hayward's ballhandling ability off the bench makes Brown a smarter bet for now. Either way, Brown is primed for a big role and eager for the opportunity after a strong finish to the season for him individually.

"It don't matter to me," Brown said of starting. "It's not my decision, my call. I've just got to be ready. Whatever happens, I didn't wake up and put on the green jersey for a reason. I just threw this sucker on. It just happened to fall like that. But, whatever it is, it doesn't matter to me. I'll be ready."

Stevens acknowledged earlier in the week he is leaning in one direction on the starting five but does not think the comfort level of Hayward or Brown coming off the bench recently will impact his decision.