BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics will wrap up their three-game road trip in Brooklyn on Monday night, and will do so without their starting backcourt. Kyrie Irving is out with a right quad contusion while Marcus Smart will miss the game due to illness, the team announced Monday morning.
Irving suffered the injury in Saturday night’s loss to the Magic in Orlando thanks to an awkward landing. He told reporters that he has a “tight-ass knot in my right quad” on Monday morning, via MassLive’s John Karalis.
“I’m just glad I do enough work on my legs, honestly,” Irving added. “It could have been bad.”
Irving said there hasn’t been any testing on the injury, but he’ll likely receive some dry-needling treatment, which is similar to acupuncture. It doesn’t sound like a very serious ailment, as Irving expects to be back in the Boston lineup Wednesday night when they host the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden.
Terry Rozier will likely start in place of Irving, which means we’ll probably see a big performance from Boston’s backup point guard. While he’s struggled in his role off the bench this season, Rozier has thrived whenever he’s been inserted in the starting five for a spot start. Rozier is averaging just eight points per game off 36 percent shooting when coming off the bench, but 14 points off 49 percent shooting in his four starts this season.
Oddly enough, the Celtics are 3-1 in the games that Irving has missed this season.
As for who will get the start in place of Smart, that is a darn good question. Brad Stevens could put either Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward back in the starting five, both of whom lost their starting jobs earlier this season.