The injury bug has once again found a victim in the Boston Celtics who will once again find themselves playing without key starters.
Boston will be without shooting guard Avery Bradley (hamstring soreness) and forward/center Al Horford (elbow) for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
Bradley, who had missed 18 games earlier this season with an Achilles injury, returns to the injured list after having played well in Boston’s last three games.
“We felt it would be best for him to rest another 36 hours,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “And Al sprained his elbow in the Lakers game, so neither of those guys is available.”
Said Bradley: “I don’t really feel sore. I just think … I wasn’t going to play both games on a back-to-back anyway. It was going to be one of these games I was going to be out. This was probably the better choice for me to come back.”
The Celtics will play at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, the final game for ex-Celtic Paul Pierce against his former team.
Listening to Bradley talk, it sounds as though the team’s medical staff is keeping him on the bench despite him feeling good enough to play. As a competitor, Bradley acknowledges those conversations have not been easy for him to accept, but understands their purpose.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” Bradley told reporters. “But I guess I have to just trust them and be ready for the next game. I’ve have like five of my teammates ask me if I’m OK. But I’m fine. I’m excited about the game tomorrow, I know that.”
Stevens said rookie Jaylen Brown and Jonas Jerebko would be in tonight’s starting lineup along with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson.
Horford’s injury occurred when he went up to block a shot against the Lakers, Stevens said.
“They (medical staff) don’t feel like it’s a long, long-term issue,” Stevens said of Horford's injury. “But he’s better today, a little better range of motion, feels stronger from the test they gave him but not ready to play yet.”
The timing of the injuries come when the Celtics seemed completely healthy, something that has been a rarity this season.
“That part is a little frustrating,” Horford told reporters. “Things like this happen unexpectedly. I just hope to get better soon as possible.”