The seemingly always short-handed Boston Celtics just got a little thinner in the starting lineup with the news that Jae Crowder will not play tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Head coach Brad Stevens announced shortly before the game that Crowder was not with the team because of family health reasons back in Dallas.
Stevens said Crowder left today and it’s unclear when he will rejoin the team which is in the middle of a West coast trip.
“We’ll see if he’ll rejoin us in Utah,” Stevens said.
Family issues have a way of weighing on the minds of players no matter how much they try to not think about it.
In Boston’s loss at Portland on Wednesday night, Crowder missed all six shots from the field and finished with four points.
It was the second time this season Crowder missed every shot he took from the field (zero points, 0-for-4 shooting against Philadelphia, Jan. 6).
Prior to Wednesday’s loss, Crowder had scored 11 or more points in 13 consecutive games which was a first for the fifth-year forward.
Replacing Crowder in the starting lineup will be Marcus Smart who will be making his 18th start of the season.
With the first group this season, Smart has averaged 11.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 37.4 percent from the field and 30.1 percent on 3’s.
In addition to Crowder, the Celtics will continue to be without Avery Bradley (right Achilles).
1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.
5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.
11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.
The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.
Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.
During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.
While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.
“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”
But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.
“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”