BOSTON — Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris said his neck is “sore as hell” after falling to the parquet after a layup early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 115-102 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden.
Morris, one of Boston’s top two-way players this season, and a key offensive weapon with Kyrie Irving sidelined by right eye irritation, said he’ll wait to see how the shoulder responds overnight but admitted the fall left his neck feeling particularly stiff.
“It feels like I’ve got a crick in my neck,” said Morris. “Should be cool.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens had noted that Morris “looks like he’s hurting,” the veteran forward downplayed the injury while suggesting he’ll wait until Thursday to determine if he needs any imaging.
"It’s not scary. I wouldn’t use that word. But it is what it is,” said Morris. "I just feel like I hope I wake up and it just feels better. I know I’m stiff, you see how I’m turning my shoulders [to answers questions]? A crick, that’s what it feels like.”
Morris had one of his quieter games of the season, chipping in 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting with three rebounds over 23:31. But if Irving remains sidelined by the eye injury, Morris' offense could be vital for a Celtics team that has struggled to score without Irving.
Morris’ neck was the second injury scare of the night for a Boston squad that saw fellow starter Marcus Smart hobble to the locker room after his right shoulder got snagged running into a hard screen from Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns.
Most reporters were googling injury timelines for shoulder separations when the Celtics announced that Smart was probable to return with merely a shoulder strain.
Smart missed only nine minutes of game action before returning late in the third quarter. Smart finished with only 2 points but added eight assists and was plus-17 over 22 minutes of floor time.
"I just got hit in the right spot, back of the shoulder blade. It sent a sharp pain up to my neck area and that knocked the wind out of me a little bit,” said Smart. "But everything is OK. They cleared me. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and that’s the good thing.”
And Smart reported no issues after returning.
"It was a little tight but for the most part everything felt good,” he said.
Teammate Terry Rozier said he wasn’t surprised to see Smart rejoin the huddle so quickly.
"Nah, I ain’t surprised at all. I could have bet somebody 100 push-ups he was coming back,” joked Rozier. "Tough as nails. Something’s gotta be broken for him to be sitting out. Like, broken.”
The Celtics have Thursday off before hosting the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
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