The Celtics were without injured starters Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward for Friday night’s game against the Jazz at TD Garden.
Brown missed his second game in a row due to the hamstring strain he suffered in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s loss to the Nets, and Hayward sat out for the second straight game with a knee contusion he sustained in the second quarter of the Brooklyn game.
"Just trying to gain some ground every single day, gain some more mobility back, things like that to try to heal,” Brown said. "Giving it some time to heal. Hamstrings are tough. Try to work through the soft tissue to make sure I get a full healthy recovery.”
Brown said he pushed to return for overtime of Tuesday’s loss, but that the team’s training staff would not let him. He suffered a similar hamstring injury in the 2018 playoffs. He was out for just four days that time, and believes this latest setback is not as severe. Of course in that case he might have pushed to return a bit early because it was the postseason.
Brown said that for now, he is hoping to be fully cleared on Wednesday, in advance of Thursday’s showdown against the Bucks.
"It could be worse,” Brown said. “That’s how I see it. Just trying to get better every single day and get back out there.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that Hayward completed some on-court work on Thursday afternoon, and that he would likely be considered day-to-day for Sunday’s home game against the Thunder.
"Starting and stopping was the biggest [thing],” Stevens said. "He felt pretty good when he was moving around, but stopping and cutting he didn’t feel 100 percent, so he’s not going to do anything on the court [Friday]. They’ll retest him tomorrow.”
Smart fined $35,000
Marcus Smart was fined $35,000 on Thursday for his outburst at the officials following Boston’s loss to the Nets. The Celtics understand that Smart’s fiery personality is part of what makes him tick, but Stevens believes there is a fine line.
“I think you can separate playing the game and just doing the right thing,” Stevens said. “I think it doesn’t make us like him any less or appreciate him any less, or appreciate the way he plays and affects our team any less. But he knows that those are things that he needs to continue to grow and be better with. But you can be that hard-playing contagious guy and avoid getting yourself in those situations.”
After hitting a career-high five 3-pointers in Boston’s win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday, Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye entered Friday shooting a career-best 38.2 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Stevens said that could be a valuable asset as this season unfolds.
"I just think he’s a good player,” Stevens said. "He’ll do whatever you ask. He’s improved his shooting over the last three years, and as people are blitzing[Jayson] Tatum and blitzing Kemba [Walker], we need shooters. We need guys that can make shots on the floor; Semi’s been very consistent with that all year.” … Celtics guard Carsen Edwards and center Vincent Poirier were assigned to the Maine Red Claws prior to Friday’s game.