Celtics rookie Payton Pritchard suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee in Friday’s loss to the 76ers and is expected to resume on-court activities in about two weeks, the team announced.
Pritchard suffered the injury with a little less than three minutes left in the first quarter of Boston’s 122-110 loss, when Philadelphia center Dwight Howard boxed out Jaylen Brown and Brown fell into Pritchard’s leg.
Pritchard was helped to the locker room by two members of the team’s medical staff before returning to the bench area in street clothes to watch much of the second half.
The Celtics selected Pritchard with the 26th pick of last year’s draft, and he emerged as an essential cog with point guard Kemba Walker out and fellow rookie Aaron Nesmith struggling. Pritchard is averaging 7.7 points and 2.6 assists per game, and his last-second putback sent the Celtics to a win over the Heat on Jan. 6.
Walker’s return certainly leaves the Celtics much more equipped to handle Pritchard’s absence. Backup point guard Jeff Teague also could step into a slightly larger role.
Forward Jayson Tatum, meanwhile, will miss his fifth consecutive game when the Celtics face the Cavaliers on Sunday as he works his way back after being in COVID-19 protocol.