There's a scourge that's wreaking havoc in Boston.
It was originally detected at 4 Yawkey Way this past summer, but because its effects were fairly normal, no one gave it much attention. It was hard not to notice, though, when more than a half dozen players at One Patriot Place were plagued by it in the late summer months of 2008 and throughout the fall and winter.
Now, on the cusp of spring, the super bug has moved north and roiled players on Causeway Street.
The diagnosis? Doctors call it the injury bug, and the Boston sports scene has a serious case of it.
As aforementioned, the bug's virulence was fully appreciated when QB Tom Brady went down in a heap in Kansas City, minutes into the Patriots' first drive of the season. But the bug's ferocity strengthened throughout the year, with the likes of LB Adalius Thomas, LB Pierre Woods, CB Terrence Wheatley, SS Rodney Harrison, and a treasure trove of running backs joining Brady on the injury list.
Any venom that the injury bug didn't spread to the Patriots has been unleashed on the current crop of Celtics.
Kevin Garnett has been out for weeks now; Rajon Rondo is still showing side effects from his Mar. 6 right ankle sprain (he sat out a good part of Tuesday's game against Chicago); Glen Davis is just coming back from an ankle injury of his own; Leon Powe is still looking for the luck of the Irish after sustaining a knee injury on St. Patrick's Day (he's likely to be out for two weeks); Ray Allen sat out all of last night's game in Miami with an elbow injury; and Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine have injuries to their thumb and head (concussion), respectively.
The injury spat leaves the C's with nine—nine!—players to field in the season's final two weeks' worth of games.
Through it all, the Celtics' gods have blessed the Green. They're just four games behind the East-leading Cavaliers, they clinched the Atlantic Division with last night's overtime victory in Miami (where Pierce and Rondo combined for 63 of the Celts' 112 points), and the Celtics continue their solid play at home, winning seven in a row despite Garnett missing 13 straight games.
Thanks to the gods, the Celtics may be able to enter the playoffs with a grin, but one has to question if their injury-plagued season will leave them exiting with a whimper.
The whimper was certainly heard with the Patriots. Despite their 11-5 finish, they exited Ralph Wilson Stadium Dec. 28 without their playoff tickets punched.
And the whimper was heard with the Red Sox. The Sox fell just a game shy of reaching their third World Series in five seasons last year; few would argue (Tampa Bay fans included) the injuries that befell Beckett (oblique), Ortiz (wrist), and Lowell (hip), among others, factored into the ALCS outcome.
Will the Celtics' injuries leave their players and fans howling? Given the Lakers' remarkable play this season, combined with their two wins over the Celtics this season, Boston should hope for as few full moons as possible as the playoffs near.