WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics started the new year off practicing without their full complement of players.
Marcus Smart (gastro-intestinal) and Tyler Zeller (sinus infection) were both admitted to New England Baptist Hospital Sunday night, according to team officials who added that the two had yet to be discharged. That puts both player’s status for Tuesday’s game against Utah very much in limbo.
“Marcus, he has the bug that’s been going around,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens who added that it’s similar to an illness suffered by assistant coach Jay Larrinaga which kept him off the bench in Boston’s last two games. “And Tyler had an ear infection and some sinusitis for a while. He (Zeller) was really feeling under the weather yesterday, more so than the past couple of weeks. And he’s been battling it for a while now. Hopefully those guys get discharged soon and join us ASAP.”
Smart averages 29.5 minutes per game which ranks fifth on the team, so his absence would definitely be felt and in all likelihood result in more playing time for second-year guard Terry Rozier.
And while Zeller’s playing time has been sporadic all season, he too might see an increased role on Tuesday depending on how well – or woeful – Boston’s frontline deals with Utah’s 7-foot-3 center Rudy Gobert.
In an unrelated health note, James Young suffered a right ankle sprain injury during an optional practice session on Sunday, and was unable to practice today. It is unclear what his availability will be for Tuesday’s game.
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.