The Celtics on Monday were still awaiting official word on the extent of Jaylen Brown’s right ankle injury, but there was optimism the All-Star forward will not be sidelined for a significant time.
Brown and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum collided in the final minute of Boston’s 129-119 loss to the Trail Blazers on Sunday night. Brown, who nearly missed the game due to right ankle pain, stepped on Tatum’s foot and appeared to aggravate that injury.
He hopped toward the locker room before draping his arms around his teammates and continuing on with their assistance. Tatum left the game after the collision, too, but said following the game that he thought he would be OK. Coach Brad Stevens said Brown did not appear to be experiencing significant swelling.
An official update on Brown’s status is expected to come when the Celtics practice on Tuesday. If Brown is sidelined for a short period, the Celtics should be able to weather his absence for a couple of games. They face the Magic (20-44) on Wednesday and the Bulls (26-38) on Friday.
Boston then has a key two-game showdown against the Heat at TD Garden on Sunday and Tuesday. The seventh-place Celtics trail the sixth-place Heat by one game in the Eastern Conference standings.
Tatum tabbed for weekly honor
Tatum has been named the Eastern Conference player of the week for the third time this season. The All-Star forward averaged 42.7 points on 54.4 percent shooting in Boston’s three games last week. That stretch included his 60-point performance in Friday’s win over the Spurs that tied Larry Bird’s single-game franchise scoring record. Tatum made 20 of 37 shots and 15 of 17 free throws and did not commit a turnover.
He also had a stretch last week in which he scored at least 20 points in four consecutive halves. Tatum is the first Celtic to earn three player of the week honors in a single season since Kevin Garnett in 2007-08.
Tatum is averaging 26.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, all of which are career highs.
Right call made on Smart ejection
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report on Monday ruled that the controversial collision involving Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic and Celtics guard Marcus Smart in Sunday’s game was called correctly.
With 1:56 left in the fourth quarter and Portland leading, 120-117, Nurkic was whistled for an illegal screen when he made contact with Smart. But after a lengthy video review, Smart was called for a technical foul and ejected for striking Nurkic in the groin area.
Smart missed Wednesday’s game against the Hornets because he received a one-game suspension for having a verbal altercation with an official following Tuesday’s loss to the Thunder.