BOSTON — The Boston Celtics will have the minimum eight players available for Sunday night’s game against the Miami Heat after announcing Sunday afternoon that nine players are out — including seven due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols for dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While Kemba Walker (knee) and Romeo Langford (wrist) are injured, the other seven players who will be sitting Sunday — guard Javonte Green and Jaylen Brown, forwards Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams and centers Robert Williams III and Tristan Thompson — all are out Sunday, and likely for some time beyond, because of the league protocols.
That will leave Boston with only those eight players — guards Marcus Smart, Jeff Teague, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters, swing man Aaron Nesmith and centers Daniel Theis and Tacko Fall — for Sunday’s game against the Heat, and likely both Tuesday’s game in Chicago against the Bulls and Wednesday’s game back here in Boston against the Orlando Magic.
Robert Williams III, Grant Williams and Thompson all missed Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards after initially appearing on the injury report Thursday night, while Tatum, Brown, Ojeleye and Green appeared on it Saturday before being ruled out Sunday.
The Celtics now find themselves in a similar position to the one their rivals the Philadelphia 76ers did Saturday afternoon, when they only had seven healthy players — along with Mike Scott, who was made active but wasn’t going to play — for their game against the Denver Nuggets.
Like in that game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens will have a difficult time putting out a coherent roster when his eight available players include five players — Smart, Teague, Pritchard, Edwards and Waters — who are 6-foot-3 or smaller, as well as five players in either their first or second NBA season and both of the team’s two-way players (Waters and Fall).
Miami, meanwhile, is going to be missing guard Avery Bradley, who also was placed into the health and safety protocols Sunday afternoon and was ruled out of Sunday night’s game.