Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown is out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist, the team announced Monday. Brown is expected to have surgery to repair the torn ligament later this week. Brown has been remarkably durable throughout his career, never missing more than 12 games in a season. Now, obviously, he will miss Boston’s entire possible postseason run.
This is particularly damaging to the Celtics given where they sit in the standings. Boston, now 35-33, is two games behind the Miami Heat for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Their hopes of overcoming the team that beat them in the Eastern Conference finals last season were already slim. Now, with Brown out, their odds have decreased even more, and they will now likely be forced into the play-in round without one of their best players. According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, Boston’s odds of landing somewhere between No. 7 and No. 10 in the Eastern Conference have increased from 69.8 percent to 72.9 percent.
The Celtics will still have a chance to make up some ground on their Eastern Conference competition, though. Two of their last four games come against the Heat and the No. 4-seeded New York Knicks. Their other two games come against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, which should both be winnable. If the Celtics do land in the play-in round, they are currently slated to play the Charlotte Hornets in the first play-in game. That might pit them against old friend Gordon Hayward, though he is currently out with a foot injury.
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Brown was having a breakout season prior to this injury. He made his first All-Star team by averaging 24.7 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting, both career highs. His defense remained strong, and with Hayward in Charlotte and Kemba Walker struggling for most of the year, Boston has had to lean on Brown more than ever this season. He delivered, but now, it will have to carry on without him.
Vegas doesn’t like their chances without him. Boston’s championship odds at William Hill Sportsbook dropped from 60-to-1 to 80-to-1 when news of Brown’s injury broke, and their Eastern Conference title odds fell from 25-to-1 to 35-to-1. The Celtics have lost significant depth over the past few seasons, and now need to rely heavily on Brown and Jayson Tatum to generate offense. With one of them down, Boston’s season appears to be over.