The Boston Celtics are having a very tough week when it comes to injuries, but all the news isn't bad.

After hearing that Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this year, Kyrie Irving's knee has been acting up, Marcus Smart sprained his thumb and Daniel Theis tore his meniscus, word that Jaylen Brown not only avoided serious injury falling on a recent dunk attempt, but is coming along well with his recovery is welcome news indeed.

When Shane Larkin saw Brown fall during Thursday's tilt with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he thought what a lot of us thought (per the Providence Journal's Scott Souza):

"The first, initial reaction is you just want to see him move ... The way he fell you don’t really know what happened. He was laying there for a minute and we were all just like: ‘C’mon, JB. Move something. Then you saw him moving his foot. Then you know he’s going to be hurt. But at least he can move everything and everything’s fine. To see him walk off was a big weight off our shoulders. Everybody could get back focused on winning the rest of that game."

Somehow, Jaylen avoided damaging his back, shoulder and neck, but is working his way through the NBA's concussion protocol, which can take some time. Despite all this, estimates for his return remain at about a week if all goes well, meaning he might be back on the court as soon as this weekend, though next week is more likely - a sentiment echoed by coach Brad Stevens (per Souza):

"Jaylen felt better today ... Today was his best day. His ‘head feels better’ is the way he phrased it to me. And his body is feeling a little better. He’s making progress. But I don’t anticipate him being on the court this week. Hopefully, as we enter next week we’ll see where he is in the protocol."

Even without all the other injury issues piling up, the prospect of Brown not only being back on court soon is a great one, with the Celts heading into a tough stretch and prospects of catching the East's top seed shrinking by the day. There should be plenty of space to rest players as needed to get as healthy as possible for the postseason, though, as the next-nearest team in the conference - the Indiana Pacers - being a full seven games behind with less than a month left in the season. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards - who Boston plays twice this month - being another half-game behind each virtually assures the Celtics the second seed with the potential to influence who they may face with those Wizards games on tap. More than anything, however, the emphasis should be on developing younger, healthy players while giving banged-up guys time to heal.

For more stories by Justin, click here.

Image: Brian Babineau/NBAE
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 3/12/2018 05:35:00 PM Edit
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