Thursday night’s marquee game between the Celtics and the Nets will be missed by a few big names.
Brooklyn star Kevin Durant will stay on the sidelines as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, and new addition Blake Griffin will remain seated because he is still on the rise after having been sidelined by the Pistons for an extended period. Celtics guard Marcus Smart, meanwhile, is on track to play for the first time since late January and give Boston a much needed boost at both ends of the pitch.
Here is the latest news on Durant, Griffin and Smart ahead of Celtics vs Nets.
Kevin Durant Injury Update
During his media availability Wednesday, Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters Durant “got better all the time.” The two-time NBA Finals MVP is expected to have more imaging done on his left hamstring next week, and the results of those scans will give Brooklyn a better idea of how quickly Durant can join the lineup. departure.
“We expected it to be a month or whatever,” Nash said. “So who knows? Who knows what the scan says? Who knows where it takes us and what time it’s back? I think when we had the second scan [we knew] that’s probably what we were looking for. “
Durant has done shooting practice and rhythm, per Nash, but he has yet to participate in an all-court scrum. When asked if it was possible Durant’s hamstring strain could be linked to Achilles’ injury that sidelined him for the entire 2019-20 season, Nash said the The team didn’t think the two “were related at all”.
“He’s doing really well right now, and we’re all very positive about the direction he’s going,” Nash said. “But we just have to be very careful because he’s a really important player for us.”
Blake Griffin Injury Update
Griffin, who recently signed with the Nets after making a buyout deal with the Pistons, is on Brooklyn’s injury report, but he has put an end to any concerns about his health. He’s just getting back into shape after a long layoff, and he plans to discuss his potential debut date with the Nets’ performance team.
“I’m not hurt at all,” Griffin said wednesday. “I haven’t played for three weeks, so I think it makes sense to step up – or, in fact, almost four weeks now. There are no injuries.”
The six-time All-Star last played on February 12 before Griffin and the Pistons decided it would be best for the six-time All-Star to take time off as Detroit considered possible deals or the terms of ‘a redemption. Now Griffin is focused on chasing a championship alongside Durant’s “Big Three”, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
“There is a learning curve, of course, but I keep saying it. Basketball is ultimately basketball,” Griffin said. “I know these guys pretty well, and like I said, they make it easy for us. There’s going to be that learning curve, but I’m just excited to be on the pitch with them and understand.
“We have two months before the playoffs start, and I think that’s a long time.”
Marcus Smart Injury Update
The Celtics should have Smart back on the floor when the second half of the regular season kicks off. The 27-year-old goaltender has missed Boston’s last 18 games after injuring his calf on Jan.30.
“Today was my first day to really go out and play 5v5 and [get] contact and really press down to see, “Smart said Wednesday.” It was really good. … They cleared me and told me if the day was going well I will probably play tomorrow unless something changes. But from now on, I will play the game tomorrow. “
Boston coach Brad Stevens noted that Smart will be subject to a minute restriction upon his return.
Celtics vs Nets injury report
(Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday)
|Celtics||Romeo Langford||Outside||Health and safety protocols|
|Nets||Spencer dinwiddie||Outside||Right knee; ACL partially torn|
|Nets||Kevin Durant||Outside||Left hamstrings; strain|
|Nets||Jeff Green||Questionable||Right shoulder; contusion|
|Nets||Blake griffin||Outside||Left knee; injury management|
|Nets||Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot||Doubtful||Right knee; pain|