Celtics

Torn ACL means Barbosa's season is over

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Torn ACL means Barbosa's season is over

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The MRI results on Leandro Barbosa's left knee confirm that he has suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury.

In the third quarter of Boston's 94-91 loss at Charlotte, Barbosa fell to the ground after making a move that did not draw any contact. It appeared he planted awkwardly and soon went down in severe pain.

The Celtics suspected he had some torn ligaments in the knee following Monday's loss, but he needed to have an MRI to see whether it was an ACL, MCL or PCL-related injury.

He becomes the third Celtics player in less than a month to suffer a season-ending injury, and the second to go down with a torn ACL injury. Rajon Rondo tore his ACL on Jan. 25 in a double-overtime loss to the Hawks.

Barbosa's injury becomes the latest blow to a Boston Celtics roster that has been decimated by injuries.

The C's are down to just 10 healthy players now, and one of those players -- rookie Fab Melo -- has appeared in just two NBA games while splitting time between the C's and Boston's D-League affiliate in Maine.

While many will call for Danny Ainge to make a deal and bring in another point guard, that's a lot easier said than done.

Arguably the best free agent point guard available right now is Jannero Pargo who was not re-signed after a second, 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks.

Boston may look to its D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, to bring up a player like Andre Barrett or Shelvin Mack, both of whom have prior NBA experience.

Not only are there few quality point guards available either by free agency or via trade, but the C's now have the challenge of trying to swing a deal with limited trading chips at their disposal.

Following injuries to Rondo and Jared Sullinger (back surgery), Ainge made it clear that he was not willing to sacrifice the team's long-term goals for a short-term fix this season.

With the C's relatively close to hitting the luxury tax threshold, they are not looking to make deals that bring on additional salary.

So while Boston's chances of making a blockbuster-type deal still exists, it's more likely that the C's will make a minor trade.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Heat in Miami. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Will Celtics be drained by emotional comeback win Monday in Dallas?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

The Boston Celtics remain a team whose collective talents are far more valuable than their individual abilities.

But there are going to be nights when someone has to shoulder a larger burden of the team in order to win. More often than not, that “one” will likely be No. 11, Kyrie Irving. 

We saw in Dallas what can happen when Irving feels he has little choice but to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. 

The Celtics were desperate for a spark against the Mavericks and found it in Irving, who scored 47 points in leading the Celtics to a come-from-behind 110-102 overtime win. 

It remains to be seen if the Celtics will require a similar Herculean effort tonight when they take the Miami Heat with a chance to extend their winning streak to 17 straight. 

This team isn’t one to dwell on success in the past, even if the past was just 24 hours ago. But there’s no getting around how what happened on Monday night might impact what we see against the Heat. 

Boston expended a tremendous amount of energy in rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter at Dallas, the kind of effort that may be difficult to replicate against a Miami team that you can count on to play hard from the opening tip to the final horn. 

Irving’s performance was one of the rare instances this season when Boston clearly could not have won without their top scorer having a big game. 

“When we needed it most, he made big shot after big shot,” said Al Horford. “He had such good rhythm, I was thinking, ‘just let him keep it going.’ He just kept being aggressive, taking really good shots. He recognized he needed to be extra aggressive, especially at the end and score the ball for us.”

Scoring could potentially be at a premium against Miami which allows 102.5 points per game which ranks ninth in the league in fewest points allowed. Also, the Heat will test Boston’s perimeter defenders. Miami comes into tonight’s game averaging 11.1 made 3-pointers per game which ranks ninth in the NBA. 

The Heat are led by Goran Dragic who is averaging team highs in scoring (18.3 points) and assists (4.7) this season. 

These two squared off earlier this season in Miami with the Celtics coming away with a 96-90 win as Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum led the way with 24 and 20 points, respectively. In that game, the Heat were without starting center Hassan Whiteside, who will be in the lineup tonight as the Heat try to bounce back after losing three of its last four games.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE