Celtics

Bradley (illness) questionable, Lee (heel) out for Celtics

celtics-avery-bradley-120415.jpg

Bradley (illness) questionable, Lee (heel) out for Celtics

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.: The Celtics have ruled David Lee and R.J. Hunter out for tonight's game.

NEW ORLEANS – Injuries and illnesses will make it tougher for the Celtics to close out their five-game road trip on a winning note tonight.

Avery Bradley (illness) did not participate in the team’s morning shoot-around, putting his status for tonight in jeopardy.

And David Lee, a regular member of the rotation off the bench, is still on the mend with a heel injury that kept him out of a 108-105 loss at San Antonio on Saturday.

Oh, there’s more.

Rookie R.J. Hunter has a left hip flexor injury that puts his availability in question, as well. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the injury occurred near the end of the team’s practice on Sunday.

“But he feels better this morning and will give it a go in shoot-around,” Stevens said. “So it looks more positive than not, but he’s not for sure, either.”

And keep in mind, their injuries and illnesses are in addition to the team already being without Marcus Smart (left knee bruise) who has missed Boston’s past eight games, 11 total if you include the three games he missed earlier with a left big toe injury.

It all adds up to a Celtics team that won’t be at full strength against a New Orleans team that’s trending in the opposite direction.

Injuries more than anything else, have contributed to the Pelicans (5-15) getting off to such a slow start this season.

Still, key players, such as Tyreke Evans, are returning to the lineup, which makes tonight’s game a lot tougher for the Celtics to win than most would expect based on the Pelicans’ record.

“We’re not playing the New Orleans team that played the first 15 games of the year,” Stevens said. “We’re playing the team that everybody thought would be who they are … it’s a good team.”

Which will make tonight’s game tougher for Boston. And not having all their healthy players at full strength will make the challenge even greater.

Kyrie Irving gives brief response to Anthony Davis' latest Celtics comments

Kyrie Irving gives brief response to Anthony Davis' latest Celtics comments

Anthony Davis' future was among the hot topics in Charlotte during the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

The New Orleans Pelicans center revealed during All-Star media availability Saturday that the Boston Celtics are on his list of acceptable trade destinations, contrary to reports before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

The Celtics weren't able to trade for Davis before the deadline because of a league rule (explained here), but they presumably will get their chance to pull off a deal this summer. 

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving -- the team's lone All-Star Game participant -- was asked by The Athletic's Joe Vardon for his take on Davis' apparent change of heart on Boston, and the 26-year-old superstar didn't have much to say on the matter.

6. I asked Irving after Sunday’s game what he made of Davis’ adding of the Celtics to his list. “Oh, he did, did he?” Irving said. “I don’t think I have a comment on that right now.”

Irving figures to be a key piece in any Davis-to-Boston scenario. He can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and recently has been less adamant about re-signing in Boston than he was in October. If Irving re-signs with the C's, perhaps that would convince Davis that Boston is a good destination for him in 2019-20 and beyond. Davis isn't eligible for free agency until the summer of 2020. Irving and Davis, as Vardon and others have noted, also are friends.

It's going to be fascinating to see how the Davis drama plays out after the season, and if the Los Angeles Lakers get another chance to land him after a public failure to do so at the deadline. It's just another story in what figures to be an absolutely crazy summer that could see several marquee players switch teams.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.