ORLANDO — Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas returned to Boston because of a groin strain on Tuesday night and will not face the Magic here on Wednesday.
Thomas said that he suffered the injury during the second quarter of the Celtics’ 107-106 loss to the Rockets on Monday after making what he called “a regular move” on a 3-pointer.
“Then I just felt something weird, a weird feeling,” he said after Tuesday’s practice. “I knew it was something, but I just kept trying to play through.”
Thomas finished the game against Houston but did not participate in practice on Tuesday. He said after practice that if there had been a playoff game that night, he would have been able to play. But he made it clear that early December is not a time to rush back from an injury that can be easily aggravated.
“If I can’t be who I am and it’s not going to help the team, I’ve got to be smart about it,” Thomas said.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the decision was made to send Thomas back to Boston so he would be able to receive more constant care from the team’s medical staff at their home facility.
“A groin strain is kind of like a hamstring,” Stevens said. “Those things are a little unpredictable when you’re talking about the muscle, especially in this sport. You’ve got to be able to stop and change direction on a dime, especially him. So it’s important that he’s 100 percent.”
Thomas has been an offensive force for Boston this season, averaging 26 points and 6.2 assists per game. Stevens said Marcus Smart would likely start in his place, but added that he would make the final decision later on Wednesday.
The Celtics on Tuesday called up rookie point guard Demetrius Jackson from the Maine Red Claws to provide some added depth at the position.
“I just want to use what I learned in the D-League and do whatever the team needs me to do,” Jackson said, “whether that’s cheer on the bench or come in the game and play.”
The Celtics will face the division-leading Raptors on Friday night in Boston.
Magic at a glance
■ When, where: Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Amway Center, Orlando.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WZLX-FM (100.7).
■ Scoring: Evan Fournier 16.9, Serge Ibaka 14.5, Nikola Vucevic 12.4.
■ Rebounding: Vucevic 11.3, Bismack Biyombo 8.5, Ibaka 6.6.
■ Assists: Elfrid Payton 5.3, Fournier 3.2, D.J. Augustin 2.9.
■ Head to head: This is the first of three meetings.
■ Miscellany: Orlando, which beat the Wizards, 124-116, Tuesday, has won 4 of 5 . . . The Magic are 5-1 when they score more than 100 points . . . The Magic went into Tuesday shooting 42.1 percent from the field, second worst in the league.