The Celtics have clinched a playoff spot in the East and hold a healthy seven-game lead over the Pacers in the third spot with 15 games to play. In any situation that would be a good thing, but banking all of those early wins this season to ensure them a playoff spot and likely homecourt advantage is especially advantageous to a team that is battling injury issues.
Gordon Hayward’s opening night ankle injury has been Boston’s most notable injury this season, but they have a number of key players on the shelf as they enter the closing stretch of the regular season. Jaylen Brown is working his way back from a concussion suffered last week and all indications point to them being cautious with a head injury. Al Horford missed Sunday’s game against the Pacers with an illness, although he should be back soon, but two other key rotation pieces went down against Indiana.
Kyrie Irving left the game with left knee soreness and the pain had not subsided on Monday when the Celtics came back to their facility for practice. Coach Brad Stevens said the team would “tread slowly” with his knee, which indicates they will hold him out until he’s 100 percent.