Celtics Dealt Another Health Blow Ahead of Sixers Matchup

Just when the Boston Celtics appeared to be nearing full strength for the first time all season, they were hit with some more tough health-related news Tuesday morning. The team announced ahead of its shootaround that newcomer Even Fournier had been placed into the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, which means that he will miss Tuesday night’s marquee matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers - and possibly more.

This marks Fournier’s second time entering the Protocols since joining the Celtics, after a false positive test for COVID-19 sidelined him for the first two games following the March 25 trade that landed him in Boston. He joins Tristan Thompson on the inactive list, although Thompson appears to be nearing his return as he has been cleared to be with the team and start ramping up his conditioning after missing the last 12 games due to Health and Safety Protocols.

Jaylen Brown reacted to the news following Tuesday morning’s shootaround, noting how badly he feels for Fournier considering how the veteran wing just arrived and had just started to heat up for the Celtics, having made 10 of his last 11 3-point attempts.

“Evan, that’s tough,” Brown said. “That’s been our season. It’s unfortunate. It’s been a year – it’s been our story, for the most part. Hopefully we can get him back in time and still make a run without him. Play some basketball and keep this thing going.”

It’s been difficult for the Celtics to keep things going consistently due to the revolving-door scenario that they have faced from a health perspective, as they've constantly had players in and out of the injury list. After tonight, they will have lost 134 player days due to the Health and Safety Protocols, which is more than 20 more than the next-closest team and also more than the 10-lowest impacted teams combined. And that doesn't even include games missed due to pure injuries.

Obviously, such health issues have had a negative impact on the team’s performance. However, as Brown noted, the entire world has been having to deal with such unpredictability as it navigates through the ongoing pandemic, and the Celtics are just trying to do the same to the best of their ability.

"It’s been very challenging,” he said. “I think this is an unorthodox year that, not just us as NBA players, but everybody in the world is kinda maneuvering through. We’re just trying to find what works best.”

Brown has been dealt with his own challenges, as well. He, too, was in the Health and Safety Protocols back in January, though he did not miss any playing time as the team was so short on players that it had to postpone a week’s worth of games.

Brown’s more notable health issue has been ongoing left knee tendinitis, which has caused him to miss a few games, the most recent being last Monday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Fortunately, the Celtics have formulated a recovery plan for the 24-year-old wing, which seems to be working in his favor.

“My knee is getting better,” he confirmed. “I think it’s moving in the right direction, so that’s a good thing.”

It’s a good thing for the Celtics, as well, because their season would be in limbo without Brown’s presence. They’ll need their explosive All-Star even more throughout this upcoming stretch of games, now that the status of his new wingmate is up in the air.

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