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The 76ers are one of the hottest teams in the league still playing in the postseason, and while their schedule has made them look a bit better than they might actually be, they are by no means an easy win for Boston, especially given they have been decimated by injuries. 

So, when Jaylen came up limping in Game Seven of the first-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, you'd be forgiven if you thought we might not make it out of the first round, never mind the second. 

The Celtics managed to put on a defensive show while seeing Al Horford and Jayson Tatum play some of the most aggressive ball I have yet to see from either at just the right moment, and Brown, who was seen staying loose on an exercise bike for much of the contest's second half, evidently could have returned if needed. They managed without him, and with hamstring injuries - even ones as minor as this one seems to be, reportedly a grade one hamstring strain, though an MRI will be taken today to check for structural damage - you really want to rest them immediately unless facing certain elimination and several months to recover.
I would not be at all surprised to see Jaylen take a bench role in the first outing of the Eastern Conference Semifinals; if they can win a game without his play, he might just stay on the bench - and such a possibility is not out of the question with home court advantage behind Boston. Grade one strains can heal very fast - sometimes just after a day or two - but more rest is better if it can be had.

Whatever the true situation is with the injury, Brown should be able to play this series no matter what without much long-term risk. The questions to consider for Brad Stevens and company is how much rest can they afford to let him take before they need his help - and how well will Jaylen's legs respond to the treatment the medical staff can provide on-court? Being able to play and being effective are two very different things for someone as dependent on athleticism and Jaythoven is.

No matter how it shakes out, though, this level of success for a team so beset with injury cannot be taken as anything but a success - one cannot defy the basketball gods for too long, and Boston may have thumbed their nose at fate as much as can reasonably be hoped for already this season.
For more stories by Justin, click here.



Image: Jesse D. Garrabrandt/NBAE
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 4/29/2018 03:48:00 PM Edit
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