By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Friday night’s Celtics-76ers game will not include another Marcus Smart vs. Joel Embiid battle. Smart has been ruled out after being placed in Health & Safety Protocols on Thursday.

Smart is now the 15th member of the Celtics to enter protocol this season. The Celtics point guard was initially classified as questionable on Thursday’s injury report, but was downgraded to out Friday morning.

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He missed Wednesday’s win in Indiana with a thigh contusion, which was Boston’s first victory without him this season. The team is 1-3 when he doesn’t play, and now will have to go without him in a tough matchup against the 23-17 Sixers. It comes at a tough time overall for the Celtics, who have three games over the next four days.

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While Smart is having a bit of a down year numbers wise, averaging 11.6 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds, he has been one of Boston’s most consistent players. He’s also always willing to defend Embiid when Boston and Philadelphia meet, usually holding his own against the 76ers behemoth. That is a luxury the Celtics won’t have on Friday night as they go for their fourth straight win.

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Dennis Schroder will continue to start for the Celtics, while Josh Richardson and Payton Pritchard will get more opportunities off the Boston bench in Smart’s absence. Staff