Rookie Payton Pritchard, pressed into service and off to a stellar start just months after the Celtics drafted him 26th overall, left Friday’s Celtics game in Philadelphia with a right knee sprain in the first quarter.
Pritchard, who needed two trainers to help him to the locker room, was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.
With 3:23 to go in the quarter, Pritchard was in the paint defending a shot by Philadelphia’s Shake Milton. Dwight Howard, battling Boston’s Jaylen Brown nearby, crashed into Brown from behind to position himself for a rebound. Brown fell into Pritchard’s right leg and the rookie from Oregon crumpled, grabbing below his knee with both hands.
After it became clear Pritchard couldn’t stand up, trainers attended to him. He could put only light weight on the leg as he walked.
Pritchard is one of just three Celtics, with Brown and Daniel Theis, to play in all 14 games this season. He entered Friday averaging 8.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 22 minutes, all off the bench.