BOSTON -- Tonight's game between Boston and Miami will feature key players in each team's backcourt unable to play.
Celtics guard Avery Bradley (sick) is out, as well as Heat guard Goran Dragic (back spasms).
“He came in, got checked out and we sent him home,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Bradley came into tonight’s game as the lone Celtic to start every game this season, a goal he was shooting for this season.
The 6-foot-2 guard is second on the team in scoring with a 17.9 points per game average in addition to grabbing a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game.
Stevens said Marcus Smart will get the start for Boston while the Heat will likely turn to Rodney McGruder who has 16 starts this season.
The 6-foot-4 Smart has made nine starts this season, averaging 10.8 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds.
“I have to bring the intensity early,” Smart said. “Usually coming off the bench you get a little time to get warmed up and get a feel for the game, see what’s going on. When you start, you come right out the gates and bring it early.”
Gordon Hayward is trying to translate his rehab off the court onto the hardwood. The Boston Celtics forward detailed the latest steps he's taking in his rehab from his ankle injury.
“Rehab is going well, still progressing on the AlterG (anti-gravity treadmill), trying to get where I can run on a regular treadmill, so 100-percent bodyweight,” Hayward said in a video posted to the Celtics' Twitter account. “Next step after that will be jumping and then hopefully I can incorporate some of that — the running and jumping on the treadmill — to running and jumping on the basketball court, so that’s where I’m at.”
Hayward suffered his ankle injury in the first five minutes of the season opener. He has not ruled out returning during the 2018 playoffs, though Brad Stevens continues to insist that Hayward will not play again this season.
“The hope is still there,” Hayward told ESPN on March 9. “It’s something where I’m really honestly not even thinking about it. I know we’re getting toward the end of the year. It’s something that I’m still working toward, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving has had a second opinion on his sore left knee, and a decision on what the next step will be is expected to be made within the next day or two, according to a league source.
The medical officials involved in the initial evaluation will meet with those who examined him today, to compare notes and determine what’s in the best interest of Irving going forward.
While surgery is a possibility, the source indicated that the current course of treatment, which consists primarily of rest, remains a consideration.
The concerns regarding Irving’s knee are to be of the short-term variety, with the source indicating reports that there are long-term concerns with the knee are “just wrong.”
In his first season with the Celtics, Irving has appeared in 60 games in what has been one of his most efficient seasons as a scorer.
He’s averaging 24.4 points per game while shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the field. The five-time all-star is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range this season in addition to dishing out 5.1 assists along with grabbing a career-high 3.8 rebounds.