Friday, December 29, 2023

Jayson Tatum (ankle), Kristaps Porzingis (calf) out vs. Raptors on second night of back-to-back

The Celtics will be shorthanded once again Friday when they host the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on a second night of a back-to-back.

The team, coming off an impressive 21-point comeback win in overtime over the Detroit Pistons, announced that Jayson Tatum (left ankle sprain management), Kristaps Porzingis (left calf) and Al Horford (rest) are listed as out.

Tatum, who struggled from the field on 11-of-31 against the Pistons for 31 points, was asked if his offensive performance had anything to do with his ankle injury -- which he sustained in Golden State during the C's four-game west road trip and was forced to sit out the second matchup in Sacramento the following night.
"The ankle is whatever," Tatum said in his postgame comments Thursday night. "It's still a little swollen but I'm able to play. I'm questionable again for tomorrow."
As for Porzingis, he'll miss his ninth game of the season and the third over the last six with left calf sprain management -- an injury which occurred late last month. However, the veteran center didn't play in the C's win over the Clippers last week due to an ankle sprain against the Kings on the first night of a back-to-back. While it seems like it's just precautionary when it comes to Porzingis playing in back-to-backs, after dropping a game-high 35 points over the Pistons, it is something to keep an eye on going forward.

Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown makes his return after being sidelined against Detroit after a low back contusion when he collided with LeBron James on Christmas Day.

Jrue Holiday was upgraded to available despite a right elbow sprain, as the Celtics lineup will be small for coach Joe Mazzulla. Look for extended minutes for the youngster Neemias Queta in the middle.

The Celtics at 24-6 on the season and a perfect 15-0 at home (both a league-best) host the Raptors (12-18) tonight in a 7:30 pm ET tip-off.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Associated Press

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