Keep an Eye on the Boston Celtics and Their Health


In an NBA season there are a lot of factors that play in for a team to win a title. Experts have broken down (ad nauseam) how elite talent, great coaching, and luck all play a part in helping a franchise win it all. Of course another big aspect is the health of a team’s roster. To start this season, the Boston Celtics are already giving fans a scare when it comes to players becoming injured. This team cannot afford to lose anyone important if they want to move forward and reach the playoffs (goals set by the team). However, Celtics fans have already had to deal with shock and disappointment due to health on the roster.

It took just three games for promising second-year guard Marcus Smart to miss time due to an injury. The guard has been dealing with a sprained toe injury, keeping him off the floor the past two games. I for one have been very distraught over this fact because how much attention Marcus Smart brings to the team. Say what you will about how decent the roster is, Smart has already become the main attraction to the Celtics.

He’s still growing to become a better player, but he’s become exciting to watch already. For casual Celtics fans, he’s the guy who builds interest throughout the season (thus turning casual fans into returning fans). There’s nothing worse than losing the player that everyone paid money to see on a nightly basis (no offense to Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger). It can hurt the overall popularity of a team surrounded by three other franchises.

I don’t want Smart to miss much time overall, especially considering how young he is. Missing time can stunt a player’s development. He’s the last player Celtics fans want to see regress. If Smart cannot get back onto the floor, that could be the case for the future (depending on how things go for him). He’s obviously having a a second-season surge when comparing his rookie numbers to his current stats. He’s averaging more points, more rebounds, and more steals, which is exactly what the front office believed he could do consistently.

Experts and fans now see that the potential he has is very real, and should be looked at as part of a future that brings in a title. Smart is still day-to-day, and has been seen walking wearing a boot. A troubling picture for sure, but it is necessary. Every precaution has to be taken, and hopefully can return soon.

There was a lot to like about after the Celtics completely destroyed the Washington Wizards on Friday. However, near the end of the game Jae Crowder banged knees with another player and went down hard. He was carried to the locker room by Jared Sullinger, and many were worried that the Celtics might have lost their best wing player early in the season.

Crowder injured himself badly during game four of their playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, so some might have wondered how his knee was doing afterwards. I did think that his knee could be an issue coming back this early. Due to the fact that I thought it would take more time to heal. Of course, Crowder has been playing great so far, and showed that he was ready to return to start the season.

If some thought that Smart was the most important player the Celtics can’t lose, Crowder might be second on the list (even ahead of Isaiah Thomas to this writer). The Celtics’ wing depth is horrible at the moment. Besides Crowder, there isn’t another player who can play the “three” like he can. I’m sure Stevens would play a lineup with three guards, or put Amir Johnson in that slot (among other players). But Crowder is really the only player who can “handle” other wing players that fit a Jeff Green type mold. Losing him would give the Celtics a huge disadvantage on defense, which is something that they do well. So, while Thomas does provide an offensive ability that others cannot match. I think it’s more important to have Crowder to play his brand of defense and offense. I believe it helps the team more.

Jae Crowder might have become one of the more important players on this year’s roster. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Right now Crowder leads the league in steals per game. His constant patrolling the passing lanes have been a major plus for the Celtics so far. Not to mention he’s averaging a solid 10 points and six rebounds as a starter this season. These number may seem low to those who do not watch the Celtics every game, but Crowder makes more contributions that aren’t quantified in games. Toughness is the first thing that comes to mind (then maybe hustle). That’s why it’s great news that his knee is fine after that scare against Washington. Crowder has said that he should be ready for the team’s next game against the Milwaukee Bucks. For what’s being reported, it sounds that Crowder just suffered a bone bruise and shouldn’t cause any concern for the future (at least that’s what Celtics fans can hope for).

The team is in no way the same kind of shape that New Orleans has gone through this season. However, the Celtics now have had to deal with two major contributors dealing with less than perfect health. That can worry some who believe this team can make the playoffs (they can’t miss extended periods of time). Smart and Crowder will be key for the Celtics to reach their goals this season (especially Smart). Hopefully the two can both return against the Bucks and put all of this behind the team. Still, Celtics fans should keep an eye on the health of these two, as the season continues. It could become a huge factor in the future.

More from Hardwood Houdini

*All stats courtesy of and 

C.J Maffris is a writer for He thinks that the world is against the Celtics with all these injury scares. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris