Someone recently cracked that the Celtics will finish out the regular season by conscripting the the Maine Red Claws. The roster of Boston’s G League affiliate could get pilfered if injuries keep hitting the Celtics.

At roughly the same time, the Celtics learned that Daniel Theis is likely lost for the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and Marcus Smart underwent tests to determine the degree of tendon or ligament damage in his sprained right thumb. Smart is now seeking a second opinion.

Danny Ainge said Monday night the team won’t know for “a couple of days” about the extent of Smart’s injury. The president of basketball operations added the team doesn’t know whether surgery will be required, and it’s unclear whether Smart will play again this season.

Ainge disputed a report that Smart suffered a torn tendon, saying that Smart suffered ligament damage near the thumb.

After injuring his thumb in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to Indiana, Smart expressed confidence that he would keep on playing.

“Sore, but it will be all right. It’s like a sprain right now,” he said.


That outlook changed Monday. Smart joins a virtual sick bay roster with Theis and Gordon Hayward out for the season. Kyrie Irving will miss time as a precautionary measure with soreness in his balky left knee, an injury that kept the guard out of the second half Sunday. Al Horford and Jaylen Brown – the former with an illness and the latter with a concussion – both missed the Indiana game.

Though the Celtics have a full 15-man roster, they can sign a free agent if three players concurrently miss three straight games, and those three plus a fourth are projected by an NBA-appointed doctor to miss another 10 days. It’s a complex NBA rule that, even in the Celtics’ injured state, would be foreboding if the team actually qualified for an additional player.

Cue the Maine Red Claws.

“Guerschon (Yabusele) is flying in,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said of the rookie power forward. Kadeem Allen, a rookie two-way contract guard, was also at Monday’s practice.

From the moment Hayward went down on opening night in Cleveland, the Celtics have patched their way through the season thanks to the contributions of players like Theis, Shane Larkin and the uncommon maturity of rookie forward Jayson Tatum.

“We are equipped and we will battle on, I think is the way you’ve gotta look at it,” said Stevens. “I’ve never been in a season that’s been like this, and obviously it started right out of the gate this way with Gordon’s (injury). But the rest of the year we’ve dealt with a lot of what would be small, week-to-week or a couple of weeks out type of thing.


“This is obviously a big deal with Theis’ injury. No question.”

The severity of Smart’s injury still isn’t known.

“… it’s part of the NBA. It happens,” said Terry Rozier, one of the few who have not lost time to injury. “A lot of teams are going through that. Collectively as a group we’ve just got to do what we can to pick up guys, and it’s not going to be easy but part of the NBA, this is what it’s about, opportunity.

“That’s part of the NBA. You see things like this happen all the time and you’ve got to see teams carry the load and things like that. Like the team we play Wednesday (Washington), they’ve been missing John Wall for a lot of the season and stuff like that. That’s a big piece to miss.”

And there’s no other available path.

“Staying professional, continue to be next man up in terms of guys that haven’t played as much,” said forward Marcus Morris. “Throughout the year you get an opportunity to go out there and compete.”

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