The Celtics will be without Jaylen Brown for a third straight game.
The star guard was downgraded from questionable to out for Sunday’s game against the Heat due to a right ankle sprain. Brown reaggravated the injury when he collided with Jayson Tatum in last Sunday’s loss to the Trail Blazers. On Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that the team was hoping for Brown to return by Sunday’s game.
Sunday’s game will mark the 10th game Brown’s missed this season due to injury. In addition to missing games due to a right ankle injury, Brown’s missed three games due to knee tendonitis, among other injuries. The Celtics are 5-4 in games Brown’s missed this season.
In other Celtics injury news, center Robert Williams remains probable to play in Sunday’s game. Williams has turf toe that kept him sidelined for Friday’s loss against the Bulls. Prior to Friday’s game, Stevens told reporters he wasn’t sure when Williams would return.
Having Williams back in the lineup could be key for the Celtics. Since the March 25 trade deadline, the Celtics are 10-2 in games Williams has started and are 4-5 in games he’s missed.
Sunday’s Eastern Conference Finals rematch is the first of two straight pivotal matchups between the Celtics and the Heat. The Celtics are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, meaning they would have to take part in the play-in tournament to make the playoffs if the season ended today.
As for the Heat, they’re in sixth in the conference standings and only a game ahead of the Celtics. A win for the Celtics in either Sunday’s or Tuesday’s game (both of which will be played in Boston) would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker as they defeated the Heat in their lone matchup so far this season.
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