BOSTON (CBS) — In what is becoming a daily tradition, the Celtics had to provide a rather lengthy update on all their injured players. But Friday’s update contained mostly good news for Boston.
The Celtics will be without both Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward on Friday night when they host the Utah Jazz, but neither is expected to be out for very long. Brown, who left Tuesday night’s loss to the Nets with a hamstring injury, sounded optimistic about returning early next week when he spoke with reporters Friday.
“It could be worse. That’s how I see it,” said Brown. “Just trying to get better every day and be back out there for my team.”
The Celtics are taking a cautious approach with Brown, who was slowed by a hamstring injury during the playoffs in 2018. He said this hammy issue isn’t as bad as that one, and that he’s felt much better over the last 48 hours. Brown will be evaluated early next week, and could be back in the lineup as early as Tuesday night when the Celtics visit the Indiana Pacers. He was initially expected to be out for about a week, so a Tuesday return would be slightly ahead of schedule.
Hayward could be back even sooner. He continues to be day-to-day, and head coach Brad Stevens said there’s a chance Hayward could be back Sunday when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit Boston. The forward also left Tuesday’s loss after suffering a knee bruise late in the first half, but did some drills at the Auerbach Center on Thursday. After taking Friday off, Hayward will be retested on Saturday.
The best update on Friday came in regards to Kemba Walker. The Celtics have been taking an ultra-cautious approach with the Walker’s sore left knee, and he was on a minutes restriction in his return Tuesday night, playing just 23 minutes against the Nets.
That minutes restriction will slowly diminish, a process that begins Friday night against the Jazz. Stevens didn’t say what Walker’s limit would be, only that it has “increased a little, but not much,” so the point guard will probably play a few more minutes than he did against the Nets.