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The Celtics have 23 games remaining on their 2013-14 schedule, and at this rate we need to start wondering if they'll be able to suit up five players by the time the season ends.

Today we learned that Gerald Wallace is likely done for the season with a knee injury, and that Vitor Faverani very well may be as well. Throw in Avery Bradley (ankle), Kelly Olynyk (foot), Jared Sullinger (concussion) and Keith Bogans (stay at home dad) -- and the Celtics are playing as short handed as any team in the league not named the Lakers.

All of this got me thinking about tomorrow's game against the NBA-best Pacers, and whether or not the Celtics bench for that game may be the worst we've ever seen.

Keep in mind, Sullinger may play (he is practicing today), but he also may not as concussions are extremely difficult injuries to gauge. If Sully does in fact miss the game, Boston will start the same five as they did against Atlanta:

Rajon Rondo
Jerryd Bayless
Jeff Green
Brandon Bass
Kris Humphries

Not impressive in the least, but five legitimate NBA players, including one star in Rondo (albeit one still searching for his consistency coming off an injury).

But how about that bench? Yikes. Without Sullinger, the Celts have only nine healthy players, leaving them the following four-man bench:

Phil Pressey
Chris Babb (just signed from the D-League)
Chris Johnson
Joel Anthony

Good God. So we have an undrafted rookie point guard who is on track to be the first player since 1957 to shoot under 28% in a season in which he took at least 165 shots, a guy just signed from the D-League who was shooting 38% in said D-League, another D-League guy who has looked nice in Boston, but who has cooled down lately, and a cast-off back-up center who has scored 16 points this season.

Man.

Trying to rack my brain and come up with a worse bench crew than that, and it's tough. Looking back at the final game of the 2006-07 tank-fest, the Cs still had Gerald Green, Leon Powe and Sebastian Telfair coming off the pine, a much better group than what we may see tomorrow night.

We may need to go all the way back to the '96-97 crew that included Brett Szabo, Nate Driggers, Alton Lister and Michael Hawkins (paging TB) to find something comparable to the current edition.

Granted, it's temporary. Sullinger's return will push Humphries to the bench, and when Olynyk/Bradley come back that will only make the team deeper. But in the meantime -- yikes.


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Michael Dyer 2/28/2014 03:40:00 PM Edit
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