With Injury Bug Biting, C's Set To Call on Depth Again Tonight
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics roster has already accumulated 10 total games missed due to injury this season. That number will likely rise three notches tonight, taking the total to 13 over the team’s first five games of the season.
Brad Stevens announced at Friday morning’s shootaround that Jaylen Brown, who missed Wednesday’s game due to an illness, remains under the weather and is “doubtful-to-out” for tonight’s matchup with New York. Enes Kanter, who has missed Boston’s last three games with a left knee contusion, has also been ruled out. Lastly, Rob Williams is termed as doubtful due to left hip bursitis that flared up Friday morning.
With those three players nearly certain to miss tonight’s matchup with the Knicks, Boston will again be calling on the depth of its roster to shine as it attempts to log a fourth straight victory.
“Better to be fully healthy,” Stevens said, “but that’s why you have a team. That’s why we have 17 players that at any time could be one of the 13 active.”
Stevens isn’t shy to call on all of those players, either. He has already shown trust in the majority of his roster, having called on 10 different Celtics to play at least 10 minutes on Opening Night. Since that game, Stevens has utilized depth at the guard and center positions in particular.
Brad Wanamaker and Carsen Edwards have both been called upon for important minutes as the team’s fourth and fifth guards, and both have played well. Similarly, Williams and Grant Williams have both been used at the center position while Kanter and Daniel Theis have been saddled with injuries, and the two Williamses have provided strong play. Semi Ojeleye also stepped in during Brown’s absence Wednesday night to help defend reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Theis, who has dealt with an ankle injury of his own early on in the season, is both excited and proud of the fact that so many of his teammates have fulfilled the team’s next-man-up mentality.
“It just shows how good of a team we are,” Theis said. “Just like, if somebody is hurt or sick or whatever, the next guy steps up and everybody trusts each other on the court, no matter who steps on it. I think it shows how close we are as a team already.”
Theis also noted that, as a result of the team’s early-season rotations, every player on the roster understands that their name could be called at any moment.
“We know that Coach trusts everybody he’s got on the roster,” Theis said, “so he’s not shy to throw somebody in there whenever he feels like it.”
Stevens will need to throw plenty of Celtics into the game against New York now that three players are likely to miss the game. Boston’s depth has shown itself as a strength so far this season. It will need to do so again against the Knicks.