While Jaylen Brown was fielding questions following the Boston Celtics’ 144-102 blowout win against the Washington Wizards, Brown wouldn’t divulge his vaccination status to the public, which should be an ongoing concern for Celtics fans ahead of the NBA playoffs.
With only three games left in the regular season, the Celtics, who are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, are jockeying for position, and it’s still too soon to predict who they’ll be facing off against in the opening round of the postseason.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Report: ‘At Least 2 Frontline Players are Not Vaccinated’
However, in light of the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn’s latest news, drawing the Toronto Raptors in a potential first-round series could pose a problem.
“What could derail the season, however, is the team entering the playoffs without all players vaccinated,” Washburn wrote, per the Boston Globe. “The Celtics refuse to say publicly whether all their players are vaccinated, as some teams have declared. And according to an NBA source, at least two frontline players are not vaccinated, which would prevent those two players from participating in road games in a playoff series against the Toronto Raptors.”
Canada reinstated its mandate for players to be fully vaccinated to enter the country on January 15. Last week, Boston made its way to the north of the border without three of its healthy starting-5, including Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford.
With the playoffs looming, the Raptors and the Chicago Bulls are tied for fifth place in the east, making a Celts/Raps best-of-7 series plausible in a potential fourth versus the fifth matchup. The Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently fifth, could slide up to second if Boston loses two of its next three games.
However, if the Celtics, who still have a shot at grabbing the No. 1 seed between now and the end of the regular season, stay in one of the top two slots, they should avoid playing Toronto in the first round.
Still, Brown can’t wait to compete. However, it doesn’t mean they will avoid facing the Raptors altogether. Not having at least two “frontline” players for games played at Toronto in a potential best-of-7 series could ultimately alter the Celtics’ fate.
Jaylen Brown Won’t Be ‘Commenting’ on Vaccine Status’
After suffering a season-ending wrist injury before the start of the 2021 playoffs, Brown will be making his first postseason appearance since 2020.
“Last year, I missed the playoffs. This year, from a competitive standpoint, I’m excited and ready to play against anybody,” Brown said after Sunday’s win. “As a vice president of the players association, it’s a part of my job description to protect our players’ rights and our medical privacy. So, you won’t hear me commenting on my status or anybody else’s. That’s how I feel about it.”
Ime Udoka: ‘It’s a Personal Choice for Everybody’
Last week, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka revealed that he has not asked about his players’ vaccination status and doesn’t plan to.
“We don’t have those discussions,” Udoka said. “It’s a personal choice for everybody. That’s their decision.”
Boston will play its final three games on the road, starting with a back-to-back set against the Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday and Thursday before taking on the Grizzlies at Memphis.