BOSTON – The Celtics added to their suffering 129-120 overtime loss against the Brooklyn Nets – a game that saw them bring a 21 point lead in the second half and an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter – losing the starters Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown were injured on Tuesday evening.
Hayward exited the interval due to a bruise in his right knee, and Brown injured his right knee tendon in the closing minutes of regulation and has not returned.
Hayward’s injury came with just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter, when Celtics center Daniel Theis fell backwards and seemed to hit his shoulder on Hayward’s right knee / leg, causing Hayward to grab him briefly the knee. At the time, however, he remained in the game and ended the first half without incident.
But Hayward, who played 17 minutes and scored seven points in the first half, didn’t come out for the start of the second half, with Javonte Green in his place. Shortly thereafter, Boston announced that Hayward was finished for the night.
“I just got rolled up there and didn’t know what would happen,” said Hayward after the game. “I think it will be fine but sore for a while.”
He added that he did not expect to make the trip with the team for Wednesday’s game in Cleveland.
Brown did not speak to reporters after the game, left the locker room cautiously and did not appear to be able to play on Wednesday.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t have an update on either player’s status, and the team said nothing postgame about whether Jayson Tatum, who left Tuesday’s game due to illness, would have done travel.
Boston will likely also be without Kemba Walker, who lost five games after the All-Star break due to left knee pain before returning and playing 23 minutes in Tuesday’s loss. Walker, who scored 21 points in 23 minutes, started the second half on the bench in an attempt to stretch the minutes to the end of the game, and said he felt fine afterwards.
“I feel pretty good,” said Walker. “Obviously I lost five in a row, so I still have to recover my rhythm, my times, everything so, therefore, I felt good today.”
However, it is unlikely that Celtics would risk playing Walker in consecutive games after losing so much time because of the sore knee. As a result, they could be without all four of their starting perimeter players in Cleveland on Wednesday evening.
But after a disgusting loss in Brooklyn that saw the Celtics crash down the road and crash into overtime, Stevens said he wasn’t worried about who was healthy or not – instead he just wanted to find a group of players who would play hard.
“I have no idea who’s going to Cleveland,” said Stevens. “I think most of the coaches go. I just want eight boys, nine boys, whoever will play hard, come on.
“Like, it was ridiculous. Now, Brooklyn deserves credit. And I hate to say it that way because they really deserve credit. Those guys who were in the game for Brooklyn – LeVert was special, of course – those other guys, too, were really busy. they deserve. “