Tacko Fall attempts a free throw

Pregame Post-Ups: Tough Decisions Looming for Stevens

Friday, April 9 - Timberwolves at Celtics

Pregame – Celtics' Health Leads To Tough Decisions for Stevens

Boston’s improving health has ironically placed Brad Stevens into a difficult situation.

Only 15 players are allowed to be active for each game a team plays. With 17 players on Boston’s roster, that would mean two players would need to be inactive when the team is at full health.

The Celtics have literally never been at full health this season, however. Not even once.

Tonight, with Evan Fournier (Health and Safety Protocols) being the only player on the injury list, they are close to full health with 16 available players. That fact has caused Stevens to make a difficult decision. Tonight, he’ll need to decide which one of those 16 players will be chosen to be inactive.

“I think this might be the second time all year that I’ve had to make that call,” Stevens said before tip-off, while not revealing who would be inactive.

The coach then explained what his thought process will be moving forward with regard to choosing inactive players, as the Celtics attempt to reach full health for the first time this season.

“We’ll rotate that some amongst certainly the two-ways and then maybe a lower-minute guy here and there, but just haven’t had to make that decision,” he said. “If we’re in a situation like the other day where you’re playing and you’re already short-handed at the 5, then obviously you’re more likely to have Tacko (Fall) be active. If you’re playing a situation where it’s more of a speed game around, then you’re more likely to have Tremont (Waters).”

Discussing this topic made Stevens rewind to Boston’s stay inside the NBA bubble. Last season, the rule was that only 13 players could be active per game, which meant four players would need to be inactive. He said the switch to 15 active players has alleviated some of the most difficult decisions he was forced to make a season ago.

“I thought that was really hard in the bubble,” he revealed. “You were still at 13 and guys are already away from their families and everything else and working really hard on off days, and then told they can’t dress. Those were probably the times where it’s been the most difficult to have those conversations.”

Unfortunately for Boston, those conversations have rarely been necessary to have this season. The team simply hasn’t been healthy enough to require such discussions.

That trend seems to be changing, though, which means Stevens will be right back in that difficult position of needing to tell players they won’t be active for games.

- Marc D'Amico

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