HOUSTON -- One of the more important takeaways for the Celtics following a 116-105 loss to Houston on Tuesday was that Jaylen Brown made it through the game without re-aggravating injuries he suffered recently to both his ankles.
That’s the good news.
Brown suffered a bruised left calf in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Rockets, an injury that he intends to play through on Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“My team needs me out there,” Brown said following the loss. “So I’m going to try and push through it for those guys.”
I have three words for Brown …
Don’t. Do. It.
As important as Brown is to Boston winning now, he’s dealing with the kind of injuries that have the potential to linger if he’s not careful.
Brown’s insistence on playing through the injuries will certainly be viewed as a positive by most and probably garner a few "Tommy Points" along the way.
But it still feels as though Brown is taking an unnecessary risk where the potential loss far outweighs any gains he and the Celtics would receive if he were to suit up for Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston’s last game before the All-Star break.
Even if Brown passes all the physical hoops and hurdles placed before him by the Celtics’ medical staff to show that he’s fit to get on the floor, the Celtics should still hold him out until after the break.
Brown isn’t just one of the team’s starters, but a player who has emerged as one of the bright, up-and-coming stars in this league.
He’s averaging career highs in several categories this season and was among the players given strong consideration for an All-Star selection.
“You could make an argument that Brown was just as good, maybe even better in some instances, than Jayson Tatum this year and Tatum is an All-Star,” a Western Conference scout told NBC Sports. “But you could tell, he (Brown) hasn’t really been himself lately. He’s still getting in a big game here and there, but you could tell something’s a little off with him physically.”
Which is why shutting him down regardless of where he’s at health-wise is the best course of action so close to the break.
The second ankle sprain injury Brown suffered came about because he was compensating for the other ankle being sore.
Depending on how sore his left calf is, it’s not a stretch to think he’ll try to take some of the pressure off that calf which could potentially open him up to another part of his body getting hurt.
Don’t get me wrong.
I love the idea that Brown wants to play through the pain. Because we know there are a lot of players who would kick back, relax and call on the load management gods to justify taking games off if they were in Brown’s shoes.
But this is the one time when Brown’s desire to play needs to be put on pause.
Yes, his presence would certainly aid Boston in its quest to knock off the Clippers and get back to their winning ways after seeing their seven-game winning streak end at the hands of the Houston Rockets.
But for Brown to play Thursday and run the risk of suffering another injury or to re-aggravate a pre-existing one, is a gamble that isn’t worth taking.
With or without him, beating the Clippers is not going to be easy.
But the decision to sit Brown even if healthy, is a tough, but necessary call that the Celtics should make.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Clippers-Celtics, which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.