Boston Celtics set to return to action on Friday with at least eight available players

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics - Game Three
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Nine players remain on Boston’s injury report, with five ruled out

The Boston Celtics injury report has begun to clear up just a little bit. Boston now lists nine players on the report as out or questionable for Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic.

The players listed as out are:

· Carsen Edwards (health and safety protocols)

· Romeo Langford (right wrist surgery)

· Jayson Tatum (health and safety protocols)

· Kemba Walker (left knee injury recovery)

· Robert Williams (health and safety protocols)

The Celtics also list an additional four players as questionable:

· Jaylen Brown (health and safety protocols)

· Javonte Green (health and safety protocols)

· Semi Ojeleye (health and safety protocols)

· Daniel Theis (health and safety protocols)

That leaves Boston with an available group of eight players. That is the minimum number of players that are needed for a game to be played. The available players are:

· Tacko Fall

· Aaron Nesmith

· Payton Pritchard

· Marcus Smart

· Jeff Teague

· Tristan Thompson

· Tremont Waters

· Grant Williams

If none of the questionable players are able to play on Friday, that could leave the Celtics depth chart looking something like:

· PG – Payton Pritchard – Tremont Waters

· SG – Jeff Teague

· SF – Marcus Smart – Aaron Nesmith

· PF – Grant Williams

· C – Tristan Thompson – Tacko Fall

For his part, Celtics coach Brad Stevens seems unconcerned about games at the moment. He said “The games are secondary in my mind right now to making sure we are healthy.” Stevens also referenced that “Obviously our concerns are with positive tests and those individuals.

Stevens did note that a small silver lining could be that players who are lower in the rotation could get a chance to play while others out.

Multiple times Stevens said that they’ve asked everyone in the organization to be prepared for “a season full of curveballs” and that Boston is focused on making the best of it.

As for Kemba Walker, Stevens made it sound like Walker is close to a return. Initial reporting was that Walker could return for Friday’s game vs Orlando, but after Boston missed a week of practice, that is no longer the plan. Stevens said “He’s been able to continue to do his rehab and strengthening. His strengthening has been fantastic. He was able to go full-go with us for an hour today. We didn’t go live (with contact), but he was able to do everything. What that means for next steps is a decision for Kemba and our training staff.”

Stevens also said that he thinks Boston’s plan for Walker has been excellent. And that he expects Walker to return when he and the training staff agree he is ready.

Barring anything unexpected in the next 24 hours or so, it looks like Boston will play on Friday. They’ll do so with somewhere between 8-12 players available, but the Celtics should be back on the court for their first game in a week.