Jaylen Brown was hopeful that he could play in his team’s biggest game of the season despite suffering from significant pain. One day before the Boston Celtics’ crucial matchup with the Indiana Pacers, though, the third-year wing was listed as doubtful on the injury report, which should come as no surprise given the extent of his ongoing discomfort.
“I’ve never experienced it [like this] where it’s hard to bend down, it’s hard to stand up or put your socks on,” Brown told the Boston Globe’s Bobby Manning. “I’ve had it where I landed on my back and had injuries where I fell. That was like a bruise, but this is more muscular I think than anything.”
Brown reportedly began feeling pain in his back during Monday’s shootaround, and it progressed to the point that was unable to play later that day against the Miami Heat. He also missed Wednesday’s victory over Miami. This isn’t the first time Brown has dealt with back pain this season. He missed three straight games after taking a hard fall on his back in a late November loss the Dallas Mavericks.
Averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game off the bench, Brown has been a bright spot over the past few months for Boston after a rough start to his third NBA season.
His injury comes at a bad time for Boston, which is deadlocked with Indiana at 47-32 for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Their Friday matchup in Indianapolis marks a chance for the Celtics to win the season series with the Pacers outright, earning a crucial tie-breaker and a leg up on home-court advantage in the teams’ likely first-round matchup.