As if the Boston Celtics’ path toward enough an NBA championship did not already present numerous roadblocks.
The Celtics announced that All-Star guard Jaylen Brown will miss the rest of the season after doctors determined he will need surgery to repair ligament in his left wrist. Boston (35-33) enters Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat (37-31) in seventh place with players missed a combined 182 games either due to injuries or the league’s health and safety protocols.
After losing three of their past four games, the Celtics trail the Heat by two games for the No. 6 seed, which would prevent the Celtics from needing to participate in the NBA’s play-in tournament to ensure a playoff berth.
That reality becomes more challenging considering Brown has represented one of the team’s positive developments this season. In his fifth NBA season, Brown became a first-time All-Star and finished with career highs in points (24.7), shooting percentage (48.1%) and assists (3.4). Brown was also credited for his leadership both with how he galvanized teammates and how he became one of the league’s most outspoken players on social justice issues.
The loss of Jaylen Brown to season-ending wrist surgery could be a severe blow to the Celtics' playoff hopes. (Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP)
Boston has appeared in the Eastern Conference in three of the past four years, but it faced difficult circumstances in carving out the same path this season.
Gordon Hayward left as a free agent, and the Celtics have yet to use the a $28.5 million trade exception that it received in a sign-and-trade. Jayson Tatum, who made his second All-Star appearance this season, missed the first five games after testing positive for the coronavirus. Celtics guard Kemba Walker missed 17 games to strengthen his left knee after dealing with various complications during last year’s bubble. Celtics guard Marcus Smart missed 19 games, many of which stemmed from a torn left calf. And Celtics forward Tristan Thompson later missed 14 games after testing positive for COVID-19.
Boston has four regular-season games left, which include matchups against playoff-caliber teams (Miami, New York Knicks) and sub. 500 teams (Cleveland, Minnesota).
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