Minor Hamstring Setback Will Keep Brown Sidelined Against Jazz

Jaylen Brown suffered a minor setback Wednesday night in his fifth game back after straining his right hamstring. As a result, he will miss the first matchup of Boston’s five-game Western Conference road trip Friday night when the Celtics take on the Utah Jazz.

Brown was seen hobbling toward the end of Wednesday’s matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, but was able to remain on the court to help the C’s close out an 88-87 win.

“He had a little tightness late in the game the other night,” C’s head coach Ime Udoka confirmed following Friday’s shootaround in Salt Lake City. “We had listed him questionable, day-to-day, and that’s how it’s going to be going forward off this injury. We’ve increased his minutes and he’s felt good at times, and then he had a setback so we’re being cautious there. He’ll get some rest and we’ll reevaluate him [Saturday].

Brown initially strained the hamstring Nov. 4 in Miami and missed the following eight games. He had been listed as questionable leading into each game since returning to action on Nov. 22, but he managed to play in all five of those matchups without much of an issue until late Wednesday night.

“Any muscular injury is super touchy,” noted teammate Josh Richardson. “You never know when it’s all the way ready. You can always tweak it again, knock on wood.

“It’s tough having Jaylen out because he’s a big part of what we want to do. But when he came back, I think the guys did a good job of fitting him back in and helping him find his spots. I think he did a good job. I think he brought good energy. I saw him kind of grab at it a couple of times but that’s natural for your first games back from a hamstring (injury).”

However, for the most part, Brown had responded well after each of his first four games back. The team’s medical staff had been gradually upping his minutes after every two games and he saw just over 33 minutes of action Wednesday night, which was an increase of six minutes from the previous game in Toronto.

“The minute restrictions, we feel good about it,” said Udoka. “There was going to be some natural soreness if you haven't played for weeks or games, and it’s hard to emulate a real-time NBA game in workout and rehab. So as long as he feels good the next day, some soreness is natural. Tightness is going to be natural at times. And if you feel a little bit more after the game, that's when we’ll start to take a deeper look at it. And that's what we did after the last game.”

It will be a challenge being without Brown against a 14-7 Jazz team, which has won six of its last eight. Though, the Celtics have already proven that they have enough depth to help make up for Brown’s void based on the fact that they have won six out of the nine games he’s missed this season.

“We have so many pieces on this team,” said Richardson, who happens to be one of those pieces. “We’ll have to bridge that gap.”

At least this time, Brown likely won’t have to miss as much action since it’s only a minor tweak. If his reassessment goes well Saturday morning, he could even be in line to return later that night when the C’s take on Portland in the second game of their back-to-back.

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