Celts Dealing with Myriad of Personnel Issues in Madrid

MADRID - No team wants to be missing players, but if it's going to happen, it might as well occur during the preseason.

The Celtics will be without three players during tonight's matchup with Real Madrid, and that number could easily climb to four or more. Evan Turner (right knee strain), Amir Johnson (illness) and Perry Jones (death in family) will all miss tonight's game. Additionally, David Lee missed this morning's shootaround due to illness and several other players are under the weather.

"We've had some upper respiratory issues for a couple of days now, and we have a couple of other guys who are a little feverish," Brad Stevens said at Thursday morning's shootaround. "It's going around and I don't know who's going to be available and who's not."

Boston's sudden epidemic of injuries, illnesses and other issues will quickly teach the team to adapt a "next man up" attitude. Everyone must be ready to play on a night like this, and that's a teaching point for the team's young players.

"This will be a great environment, it will be a great crowd, it will be great to play against these guys that are older," said Stevens. "They're so accomplished. I was thinking about it: if a couple of our young guys get to play against this, it will be nothing but good for their development

Fortunately for the C's, their youngsters, who will likely see an increase in playing time tonight, have been hard at work since training camp began.

"They're always ready," said Jared Sullinger said of his youngest teammates. He later added, "Those guys are just ready to play, and as time goes on we're going to need them."

That readiness, according to Sullinger, is the definition of being a professional.

"[That's what] the NBA is all about," Sullinger said. "Sometimes you think you're going to play and you might play. Sometimes you think you're going to play and you're not going to play. You've just got to be mentally ready for whenever coach calls your number."

Preseason basketball, meanwhile, is all about preparing for the regular season. Tonight's matchup with Real Madrid is the perfect opportunity for Boston to do so.

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