Third-year Celtics guard Jaylen Brown suffered a scary fall against the Mavericks back on November 24th, and he has yet to play since. He missed the team’s win over the Pelicans on Monday along with last night’s rout of the Cavaliers, and it looks like he’ll be missing tonight’s game in Minneapolis as well.
The fall aggravated some back tightness that he experiences from time to time, though he says that this injury is a bit more intense than usual. “I have low-back tightness in general but never to this kind of level,” he said. He’s been experiencing back spasms but was able to shoot around yesterday in spite of them.
It looked for a while like he may be able to play in tonight’s matchup against the Timberwolves, but ultimately it looks like the Celtics will be playing it safe with the 22-year-old.
Brown was Finding His Groove Before Injury
It’s no secret that the Celtics’ early season has been rough. No player has been an exception to that, including Brown, whose scoring was inconsistent and streaky throughout the early season.
Just before his injury, though, he appeared to be hitting some kind of stride. He scored 16 points in the game against the Mavericks, and preceded that with 10 and 11-point showings against the Hawks and Knicks, respectively. During that game with the Mav’s though, he fell awkwardly and left the game early.
Brown had to miss time last year after another scary fall, where he swung on the rim and landed awkwardly on his head. He’s expressed some frustrations with his injuries but is counting his blessings, too. “If there was a list of injuries that everybody is dealing with in the NBA, I’d probably pick mine over a lot of the other ones,” he told Boston.com.
Brown’s Absence Further Tests Celtics’ Ability to Adapt
In an effort to right the ship after a streaky early season, Brad Stevens and the Celtics have been tinkering with some changes to their lineups. They benched Gordon Hayward a few games ago to see if the struggling veteran could find his legs with a bit less pressure coming off the bench (the fruits of that are to be determined), and now, with Brown out, they’ll have to make a few more tweaks.
Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart have been taking the starting spots as Brown recovers and Hayward adjusts to his role off the bench. They started against the Pelicans and then again against the Cavaliers, both of which were wins. If this rotation keeps working out, Brown could go the way of Hayward and give up his spot as a starter.
He told Boston.com:
“Whatever needs to be done to figure it out,” he said. “Everybody has talent, everybody has ability, but, obviously, we have to make something work here. We don’t want to be looking down the line and trying to figure out what if or woulda, coulda, whatever, so whatever it is that we can make it work now, I’m totally happy with that.”