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“Next Man Up” for Jae Crowder
The Celtics announced on Sunday that Jae Crowder will be out for at least the next two weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Crowder left Friday night’s game vs. Houston after rolling his ankle on an attempted layup. He did not return to the game.
Brad Stevens and the Celtics will now have to go with a “next man up” mentality in order to fill Crowder’s shoes.
Evan Turner should be the likely candidate to get the start on Tuesday night when the Celtics face off against the Pacers in Indiana. Turner has made a tremendous impact off the bench this season for Boston, averaging 10.0 PPG, 4.5 APG, and 4.9 RPG.
Coach Brad Stevens has indicated that some of his young guys will get a chance to see minutes as a result of Crowder’s injury. Hunter, Rozier, Mickey, and Young have all seen garbage time minutes this season, but that could easily change with the injury to Crowder. Nonetheless, Stevens thinks his young guys are ready to step up.
“That's why, they lift, that's why they go to Maine,” said Stevens.
Luckily for the Celtics, Kelly Olynyk is aiming to return on Tuesday from an injury that has sidelined him for over a month. Olynyk sustained a shoulder injury back on February 10th vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. Initial reports indicated that Olynyk would miss at least two weeks. However, a second later report indicated that Olynyk would miss about three weeks.
“Have to have confidence & know it's going to be strong enough to do the things you need to do,” said Olynyk.
While the news of Olynyk returning is good to hear for Boston fans, the Celtics will have to figure out a way to deal without Crowder for at least two weeks.
Jae Crowder has become a vital piece to this Celtics roster, and an injury like this could set Boston back in the standings. Crowder has solidified himself as a reliable wing player and has improved drastically on the offensive end. This season Crowder is averaging 14.4 PPG, 1.9 APG, and 5.1 RPG.
The Celtics will have a tall task to face on Tuesday night when they take on Paul George and the Indiana Pacers. Boston will have to find someone to defend George, who has averaged 25 PPG vs. the Celtics this season. In addition, George is in the top 10 in steals this season, averaging 1.83 SPG.
As it stands, the Celtics are the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Heat just a game behind. Boston has three tough matchups in a row against Indiana, OKC, and Toronto.
So with Crowder’s injury, who’s going to be the one to step up? We will soon find out.
BY: MATTHEW WEDDLETON