The Celtics were already going to be missing three key bigs for the next week due to NBA COVID protocols. Now, it appears the C's can add their best player to that list in Jayson Tatum. Shams Charania of Stadium was first to report on Saturday afternoon that the All-Star forward will be forced to quarantine for the next 10-14 days due to the NBA health and safety protocols. The Boston Globe was first to report that Tatum has tested positive and it appears multiple other Celtics are in danger of facing a quarantine based on being close contacts of Tatum. A look at the injury report for Sunday's game:
OUT: Kemba Walker (knee), Grant Williams (health & safety), Robert Williams (health & safety), Romeo Langford (wrist), Tristan Thompson (health & safety)
DOUBTFUL: Jayson Tatum (H&S),
QUESTIONABLE: Semi Ojeleye (H&S), Jaylen Brown (H&S), Javonte Green (H&S)
It was already going to be a scramble for Brad Stevens over the next week without Rob Williams, Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson at his disposal. With the 6-foot-9 Jayson Tatum out of the fold, the Celtics are suddenly the smallest team in the NBA by a landslide for the next week.
With four players out due to COVID protocols along with Romeo Langford (wrist) and Kemba Walker (knee) sidelined due to injury, the Celtics will only have nine players available from their 15-man roster over the next three games (a number that could drop due to contact tracing), plus a pair of two-way in players in Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters. Here’s a look at what the depth chart looks like without Tatum.
Guards: Smart, Teague, Pritchard, Edwards, Waters
Wings: Brown, Ojeleye, Green, Nesmith
Bigs: Theis, Fall
OUT: Tatum, Walker, Langford, Thompson, G. Williams, R. Williams
The Celtics are reportedly aiming to get Kemba Walker back by next Friday after he was cleared to practice this week, but the team certainly won’t rush his progression based on Tatum’s absence. Walker’s long-term health is paramount to this team’s contending chances even though the team could use him back now more than ever with Tatum sidelined. So how exactly is this team going to function with this bare-bones crew?
I’d expect Jeff Teague to be inserted into the starting five to provide some additional shot creation and another ball handler that will be desperately needed in Tatum’s absence. Ojeleye should hold onto his starting spot as well, replacing Thompson until he returns.
Who is in the rotation?