Pregame Post-Ups: Rozier Set for First NBA Start

Wednesday, Jan. 31- Knicks at Celtics

Pregame – Rozier Set for First NBA Start

BOSTON – With Kyrie Irving (right quad contusion) and Marcus Smart (right hand laceration) both sidelined Wednesday night, it will be Terry Rozier’s chance to shine when the Boston Celtics host the New York Knicks at TD Garden. Rozier, appearing in his 165th career game is set to earn his first NBA start, as he will fill Irving’s role as the team’s starting point guard.

Filling Irving’s void won’t be an easy task, but Brad Stevens is confident in Rozier’s ability and believes he’s ready to step up to the challenge.

“I feel really good about Terry Rozier out there,” Stevens said ahead of the 8 p.m. tip-off. “He’s had a great year, he’s shown consistent progress since he’s been here and it’s a great opportunity for him tonight.”

Not only will Rozier start Wednesday night; he’ll also likely have to play significant minutes. In addition to missing Irving and Smart, the Celtics may also be without backup point guard Shane Larkin, who is questionable with right knee soreness.

Being short on ball handlers, Al Horford plans to step up and help Rozier carry the load.

“I always try to handle it anyways, bringing the ball up and all that, so I’m sure I’ll be doing some of that as well,” said Horford. “The main thing for us is just to make sure that we make the game easy for each other. We don’t have a guy like Kyrie or Smart out there, so we really have to rely on each other to move the ball.”

As for Irving’s injury timeline, Brad Stevens says he’s not sure when the All-Star point guard will return.

“He was pretty stiff this morning,” Stevens said of Irving, who suffered the injury during the third quarter of Monday’s game in Denver. “It didn’t get much better from yesterday. It’ll get reassessed tomorrow. It’s clearly a thigh bruise. We’ll see how he feels each day, but it’s not for sure that he’ll practice tomorrow and play Friday. We’ll just go day-by-day.”

Smart, on the other hand, is expected to miss approximately two weeks.

In the meantime, it’ll be Rozier’s time to shine, as the 23-year-old hopes to step up and prove himself during his first career start.

- Taylor Snow