Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown won't play against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night because of a back injury he suffered against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night, per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
Brown has been relatively healthy early in his career, appearing in 70-plus games in each of his first two seasons. He did, however, miss a six-game stretch last season while going through concussion protocol after a scary fall during a game. He also sat out one game Nov. 1 with a sore right foot.
The third overall pick in 2016, Brown has become a key piece in the Boston rotation. He played a big role in helping the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals a season ago, averaging 18.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game during the 2018 postseason.
This season, Brown is averaging 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 19 games.
Stevens has proved his system can withstand injuries to key players. After all, the squad came within one game of the NBA Finals last season without All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
The Celtics have a few options to turn to without Brown. Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart could fill in for Brown alongside Irving in the backcourt, though Stevens previously opted to use second-year forward Semi Ojeleye in the starting lineup to add some extra defense down low when Brown was out in early November.
Boston has enough talent to survive an injury to Brown during the regular season, but if the Celtics hope to win the championship this season, it would help to have a healthy rotation.