Celtics rookie wing Romeo Langford tore ligaments in his right wrist during the Celtics’ 96-90 loss to the Wizards on Thursday, but he has not yet been ruled out for Boston’s opening-round playoff series against the 76ers.
“We’re still going through the process of determining the next step with him,” coach Brad Stevens said Saturday. “I don’t know if that means that down the road he’ll have to take time off, if that means he’ll have to have it worked on, but we’re still in the process of determining how he feels and whether or not he’ll be available or not. I’d say it’s questionable.”
Langford, 20, played in 32 games this season, averaging 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per contest. He played a career-high 30 minutes in the loss to Washington, mostly because the Celtics’ top six rotation players sat out to rest.
Although his offensive game remains somewhat raw, Langford has gained Stevens’s trust as a defender and could be in line for playing time in certain situations. Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is expected to leave the team temporarily at some point in September due to the birth of his son, and Langford could be in line for a larger role then if he is available. But there is certainly a chance he will be shut down for the season.
Langford’s brief career has been hampered by injuries. He played through a torn ligament in his right thumb during much of his lone year at Indiana. He had surgery after the season ended and it kept him out of summer league with the Celtics last year. He was also slowed by two ankle injuries this season.
“I feel for him,” Stevens said. “He’s a hard-working guy, he’s a tough guy and I think he’s got a bright, bright future. Again, I hope that he’s able to play, but that’s going to be totally dependent on our doctors and dependent on his, probably, pain. So he’s going to have to test that and get used to it and see what it feels like. If not, then we’ll have him back when we have him back.”
It’s time for Walker
Stevens said point guard Kemba Walker’s minutes restriction has been lifted for the playoffs. Walker was slowed by left knee pain throughout the regular season, and while the long break helped him, the Celtics gradually ramped up his workload in Orlando for precautionary reasons.
“He’s ready to roll,” Stevens said. “I mean, it’s been a good plan of attack by our training staff. And Kemba obviously played well and minutes-wise, should be in good shape.”
Walker found out the good news when it was relayed to him from a reporter during a media Zoom call Saturday afternoon.
“I’m happy to hear that, though,” he said. “I’m ready to go out there and play big minutes and try to do what I can to help my team win games.”
The Sixers’ playoff hopes were dented when All-Star guard Ben Simmons was lost for the year because of a knee injury. But the Celtics insist that this Philadelphia team remains quite dangerous.
“They will miss him,” forward Jayson Tatum said. “He’s one of their best players. They have a bunch of other guys around the same height and play the same position that are interchangeable. Those guys are really good and they’re a tough team. They play hard and play well on both ends.”
Stevens pointed out that with Simmons sidelined, the 76ers will be able to unfurl groups filled with perimeter marksmen.
“All nine of their guys that will play around [Joel] Embiid will shoot the ball,” Stevens said. “It makes it very difficult. You have to pick your position at times, and we have a great deal of respect for [Embiid]. We’ve played him in the past, but obviously, the way they’re playing now and the way they’re spreading the floor around him makes it very difficult.”