The hits just keep on coming for the Boston Celtics.
First, Kyrie Irving leaves their Sunday night loss with a knee injury that’s expected to keep him out of the lineup for at least a few games. Then, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, they get word that rookie Daniel Theis will need season-ending surgery to repair a meniscus injury:
Boston Celtics rookie center Daniel Theis has suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee and will undergo season-ending surgery, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Theis underwent further testing Monday morning after suffering the injury in Sunday’s home loss to Indiana.
But wait, it gets worse.
Shortly after this, Charania reported that Marcus Smart will now be out of the lineup indefinitely as he recovers from a torn tendon in his right thumb:
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has suffered a torn tendon in his right thumb and will be out indefinitely, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
The loss of Smart could be potentially devastating for the Celtics. He is expected to receive a second opinion on the thumb, which he injured diving for a loose ball in Sunday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers.
This is a big deal, even if Smart doesn’t miss too much time. The Celtics have the NBA’s best defense, according to NBA.com, a stature they’ve used to prop up lineups that include neither Kyrie Irving nor Al Horford. Theis and Smart are a huge part of that of model. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown still trying to figure out how to carry offenses on their lonesome, the Celtics will struggle to find an identity during those brief periods when they run without either of their stars.
So, yeah, this isn’t good. The Celtics have a chokehold on the East’s No. 2 seed, but it sure looks like they’ll be banged up leading into the postseason—even if, as expected, both Irving and Smart are back in the fold.