Celtics

Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics have an extremely crowded backcourt this season.

But this is not what head coach Brad Stevens had in mind as a means of clearing it up.

The Celtics will be extremely short-handed in the backcourt when they play their first preseason game against an NBA team tomorrow night in Brooklyn.

Terry Rozier (knee) told the media on Monday that his injury would keep him out for Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets as well as Friday’s matchup versus the New York Knicks.

Stevens said he is also planning to give Avery Bradley (rest) Wednesday night off.

But in addition to Rozier and Bradley, Stevens said he’ll be without Marcus Smart (illness) as well.

“He’s got what everyone else had, plus fever and everything else,” Stevens said of Smart. “Going through that a little bit with our roster. Hopefully we’re nearing the end of it.”

A similar illness kept Amir Johnson from playing against Real Madrid last week, and led to Jonas Jerebko being unable to practice on Sunday.

Stevens alluded to sitting other players as well in the near future.

The injuries and illnesses will afford a number of players more opportunities to play; namely Evan Turner.

A knee injury kept him out of the Celtics’ two games in Europe against Olimpia Milano and Real Madrid.

Both Turner and Stevens indicated this week that he would play on Wednesday, with Stevens going so far as to say that Turner might be in the starting lineup against Brooklyn.

“He practiced full yesterday,” Stevens said of Turner. “He’s good to go.”

Without Smart and Rozier around, Turner will find himself in a familiar position as the team’s primary playmaker when he’s in the game.

One of the to-be-determined dynamics of the Celtics this season will be how Turner adapts to playing without the ball in his hands as much as it was last season.

The Celtics have placed an emphasis on having Smart handle more of the play-making duties this season which will make it tougher for Turner to lead the team in assists (5.5) for the second straight season.

In addition, Turner had a passer frequency (the percentage of times a player made or received a pass to or from the given teammate) of 15.7 percent which was also tops on the team.

“He’ll be excited to play. Evan likes basketball. If there was a game at Y tomorrow and Evan wasn’t in the NBA, he’d probably find it,” Stevens said. “He’s one of the guys that for 82 games you don’t worry about the passion ever becoming a factor.”