Shane Larkin out for tonight's game and beyond - what it means for the team

Shane Larkin has been diagnosed with a sprained shoulder and has been ruled out for tonight's Game Five against the Philadelphia 76'ers.

Larkin injured the shoulder in a collision with Joel Embiid in Game Four of the series. It is doubtful that he will need surgery, but Shane may not be back in action for the foreseeable future.

If this happened during the regular season when Boston had most of its troops healthy, it would not have been so devastating. Shane's minutes and production in the playoffs have been quite similar to those in the regular season.

The difference is that the Celtics healthy ranks have declined significantly, and his 14-or-so minutes on the floor have become extremely important. In addition to giving the other ball-handlers, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart, a break, Larkin seems to provide a much-needed spark when he enters the game.

Larkin has not seen big minutes in the playoffs, but he has been a regular in the rotation. Boston is left with two primary ball-handlers in Terry and Smart. Brad Stevens has gone with a no-point-guard offense at times and we may see that again.

Jaylen Brown is still not 100% after his hamstring injury, and Marcus Smart still plays with a hand brace. Brad's options keep decreasing as the injuries pile up. His rival coaches did not see fit to even give him one vote for their unofficial Coach-of-the-Year Award, so this will be another test for Stevens, in addition to another opportunity to show the pettiness of the National Basketball Coaches Association's voting preferences.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports