Amir Johnson twisted his ankle and did not play in the fourth quarter of Boston’s 100-98 loss at Indiana.
However, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said the ankle injury isn’t what kept Johnson on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.
“He was cleared to play,” Stevens told reporters following Wednesday’s loss. “I felt like David (Lee) was playing really well.”
Lee, who has been in scoring funk all season, had a semi-breakout game on Wednesday with 10 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes.
His play while good for the Celtics, only adds to the lack of clarity that continues to exist among Boston's frontcourt.
If anything, Lee proved he can indeed be a contributor coming off the bench - a role he fell into last season in helping Golden State win the franchise's first NBA title in 40 years.
Lee, a two-time all-star, was a starter in Boston’s first three games this season.
His benching wasn’t a total shock when you consider how he has struggled shooting the ball this season with many of the misses being driving lay-ups or shots close to the rim.
Lee came into Wednesday's game connecting on just 25 percent of his shots from the field this season, a shocking percentage considering the 32-year-old has made at least 50.3 percent of his shots from the field in each of his previous 10 NBA seasons.
Boston spent most of the game trailing, but Lee was among the handful of Celtics player whose play kept them within arm’s reach of the Pacers in the latter stages of Wednesday’s game and ultimately gave them a shot at stealing a victory.
However, Avery Bradley's last-second 3-point attempt grazed the rim and managed to fall into the hands of Indiana's Lavoy Allen as time expired.
Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 27 points and Bradley wasn’t too far behind with 21 of his own. But there were others whose play was in important, Lee among them.
“David Lee, he came in and sparked (the team),” Boston’s Avery Bradley told reporters after the loss. “He was just in the starting lineup and now he’s coming off the bench. It just shows how mature our team is and interchangeable everyone is.”