The C’s are just the latest squad to have their season turned on its head because of a major injury to a star player during this campaign.
The Boston Celtics will no longer have the services of Jaylen Brown for the remainder of this season after the star wing sustained a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist, the team announced on Monday.
When exactly Brown suffered the ailment remains unclear, and the team has yet to discuss a timetable for his return, though he is expected to go under the knife later this week.
Boston role player Romeo Langford actually had the same procedure in September of 2020, reaching game shape about five and a half months after the surgery, so the franchise has at least some familiarity with this rarer injury. Based on that timetable, the team can expect Brown back by October, when the new league year is expected to get underway.
It’s a damn shame for the Celtics, who have been hemorrhaging depth over the past couple of seasons, which has left them to rely very heavily on Brown and their other young star wing player, Jayson Tatum. With the loss of Brown, it seems like the Celtics chances at a title—which were already slim, as evidenced by their +8,000 odds to win the NBA title on 888sport—have completely evaporated.
Tatum has been having himself a breakout season as well, but without his sidekick Brown, the Celtics simply don’t have enough talent or depth to challenge, even in the lesser Eastern Conference. They made a vigorous comeback attempt in their last game, a six-point Sunday loss to the Miami Heat, and they will again take on the Heat on Tuesday evening, boasting solid value with +100 NBA odds to win the contest.
The Celtics’ chances of playoff success this season went down with Brown’s wrist, but they could be a great NBA pick as an underdog on Tuesday night: if the seventh-place Celtics lose to sixth-place Miami again, they’re all but assured to have to take part in the NBA’s inaugural play-in tournament. It’s do or die time for the C’s.
Brown’s ligament tear marks a premature end to what has to be considered the best campaign in the fifth-year pro’s short career so far.
The 24-year-old put up career highs in basically every conceivable statistical category, averaging career-bests in minutes (34.5), points (24.7), assists (3.4), steals (1.2), blocks (0.6), field goals made (9.3), field goals attempted (19.2), threes made (2.8), threes attempted (7.1), free throws (3.3), and free throws attempted (4.3) while posting his best shooting marks from the field (48 percent), from downtown (40), and from the charity stripe (76).
Improving all of your per game totals while also increasing efficiency is not something all up-and-coming players can accomplish, so those trends bode very well for Brown’s future as a star in this league.
That doesn’t help the Celtics this season, though, and to be honest, not much has. Most teams have had nightmarish levels of missed games this season due to a much higher rate of injury as well as all of those stays on the league’s COVID-induced health and safety protocols, but the Celtics have had it especially rough.
Brown had already missed the previous three games because of an ankle sprain that occurred when he and Tatum bumped into each other in a horrifying collision for Celtics nation during the final seconds of a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Tatum ended up being fine.
Once all is said and done, Brown will have missed 14 total games this season, with many of his absences coming in the second half of the campaign as he battled through various bumps, nicks, and bruises. Tatum also missed five games after contracting COVID-19 and has been vocal about feeling the continued effects, which have forced him to adopt the use of an inhaler.
Trade deadline pickup Evan Fournier has also missed significant time due to the virus, stating that the effects he continued to feel were similar to those you’d get from a concussion. Marcus Smart, the emotional heart of the team, missed 18 games and all of February with a calf injury, and Kemba Walker has missed a total of 26 games as he continues to get his knee back up to full speed.
All of those issues have resulted in some real inconsistency over the year, which is why they find themselves in seventh place and in danger of failing to qualify for the postseason at all if they suffer two losses in the play-in tournament. I guess all Boston can do at this point, is charge it to the game.