Celtics forward Jaylen Brown is out again for Sunday’s game against the Thunder, the third game he’s missed with a hamstring injury he suffered during a loss to Brooklyn last Tuesday. Coach Brad Stevens said in the days after the injury that Brown would require at least a week to return but Brown had hoped the process would go faster.
“Possibly a little earlier,” Brown told reporters. “I feel good about the last 48 hours so I guess Wednesday might be the mark. We’ll see about Monday or Tuesday. We will play it by ear.”
The Celtics are not ruling out Brown for a difficult two-game road trip against Eastern Conference rivals next week. Boston will play in Indiana on Tuesday, then in Milwaukee on Thursday. That game is the first of a back-to-back—the Celtics play at home against Washington on Friday.
Jaylen Brown: ‘Hamstrings Are Tough’
With the start of the playoffs only a little more than a month away, Brown is being particularly cautious. Hamstring injuries are notoriously finicky—they can feel fine one day and turn acutely painful quickly thereafter.
“Just trying to gain some ground every single day, gain some more mobility back, things like that to try to heal,” said Brown. “Giving it some time to heal. Hamstrings are tough. Try to work through the soft tissue to make sure I get a full healthy recovery. Health is wealth, so I want to make sure this isn’t a reoccurring thing or keep happening. So (I’m) really going to be really anal about every single detail of my recovery.”
Brown has been dealing with minor injuries for much of the last month. He missed a game in February with a right ankle sprain and another game with a calf injury. He has also had small injuries to his thumb, a previous injury to his right ankle. He missed three games early in the season with an illness.
The game against the Thunder will be the 13th he has missed this season, a career-high.
Celtics Have Weathered Injuries All Season
In fact, three of the five regular Celtics starters—Kemba Walker, Brown and Gordon Hayward—have missed significant time. Only center Daniel Theis (six games) and forward Jayson Tatum (five games) have been injured fewer than 10 games.
Despite the loss to the Jazz on Friday, Boston has fared pretty well even when a starter has been down. The Celtics are only 2-3 in the games Tatum has been out but have very good records when missing any of the other four.
|Player||Celtics record when injured|
That’s a testament to the team’s depth. And in a way, the number of injuries the Celtics have had to handle this year has helped the team bring along players who have had chances to play that might not otherwise have been there.
“In a lot of ways you’re building your depth,” Stevens said earlier this season. “Your new guys get to play. It’s a great opportunity for them and that can really benefit you down the road. I think there’s always a silver lining in these things.”