For a while it has looked like Boston was locked in as the three seed in the East, potentially lining them up for a second round matchup against Toronto (where the Celtics thought they had a shot). But this news could lead to a slide down the standings in the final month before the playoffs start.
The gritty forward will miss at least the next two weeks due to a high right ankle sprain, Brad Stevens announced after Sunday’s practice… The fact that Stevens said he’d be out a “minimum couple weeks” leaves the door open for a longer recovery time.
Crowder sprained the ankle in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to the Houston Rockets after driving to the hoop for a layup. He stayed in the game for a short time after, but was taken out and did not return.
High ankle sprains can take close to a month to heal (depending), which would take Boston all the way to the playoffs.
The Celtics are 4.6 points per 100 possessions better this season with Crowder on the court, but that underestimates what his defense, versatility, shooting (35 percent from three), and hustle brings to the Celtics’ top lineups. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Now the Celtics will need to play more Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner, which are considerable drop offs.
Boston is the current three seed in the East, but teams are bunched up in the middle of the conference — the Celtics are just two games ahead of the six seed Hawks. Those teams could see some position juggling, with every team trying to stay off the Cavaliers’ side of the bracket (teams don’t want the four/five seeds).