CHARLOTTE, N.C. Rough times just got rougher for the Boston Celtics who may be without Leandro Barbosa.
Barbosa, who has seen his playing time increase since Rajon Rondo's season-ending torn right ACL injury, crumbled to the ground near the end of the third quarter with a left knee injury.
The severity of the injury is unclear, but it certainly had the look of an injury that will sideline the veteran for a significantly long period of time.
The injury was severe enough to where Barbosa could not get up on his own when it happened. Instead he had to be helped off the floor by teammate and fellow native of Brazil, Fab Melo, along with team trainer Ed Lacerte.
If Barbosa is out for the remainder of the season, he would be the third Celtic player to suffer a season-ending injury in less than a month.
Rajon Rondo suffered a torn right ACL injury Jan. 25 against the Atlanta Hawks. He was taken to a nearby hospital two days later for what was supposed to be precautionary X-rays.
It was determined then that he had a torn right ACL injury and would be lost for the season - just minutes before the Celtics hosted the Miami Heat on Jan. 27.
Less than a week later, Jared Sullinger had back spasms that forced him to leave Boston's Jan. 30 game against Sacramento in the first quarter.
Two days later, he was having season-ending back surgery.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
This season, all-NBA first team defender is the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.
WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”