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Celtics are expecting to return to play Friday vs. Magic, Danny Ainge says

Carsen Edwards is the latest Celtic to be ruled out under COVID-19 protocols.
Carsen Edwards is the latest Celtic to be ruled out under COVID-19 protocols.Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

The Celtics have not played since Friday because positive COVID-19 tests and additional close contacts have left them with fewer than the league-minimum eight players on the roster.

But team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday he thought it was likely the team would return to play against the Magic Friday night, as long as there are no more positive tests.

“I can’t confirm nor deny anybody that’s tested [positive],” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” show. “That’s a strict guideline that I have. But I think that our players are all doing well. We have some that are in contact tracing also, but all of our players are doing well. It looks like we’re going to be able to play a game tomorrow.”

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Ainge said the team would still need to be tested before Friday’s game, so things can change.

“Each of these tests, you’re just on pins and needles right now the way that our society has gone, more than the NBA,” he said. “The NBA has done a pretty good job.”

After Ainge’s interview, the Celtics released their Thursday injury report.

Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams, both of whom tested positive for COVID-19, are out, as is Carsen Edwards, who is out because of COVID protocols.

Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye, and Javonte Green are listed as questionable. All four had been sidelined because of contact tracing.

Centers Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams are not listed, meaning they would be cleared to play. They had previously been out because of contact tracing.