Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (personal reasons) has been ruled out for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported early Thursday morning.
Boston Celtics say Derrick White is out tonight against the Miami Heat due to personal reasons.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 19, 2022
White, starting in-place of Marcus Smart, who missed Game 1 with a mid-foot sprain, headed back home to be there for the birth of his child with his wife, Hannah — Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters. White had three points on 1-of-4 shooting with four assists and one block in 29 minutes.
Ime Udoka said he’s “good now” after dealing with a non-COVID illness yesterday. He said Derrick White is gone for the birth of his child.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) May 19, 2022
Congratulations to you and your family, Derrick!
White’s absence likely means more Payton Pritchard and/or Aaron Nesmith minutes, even with Smart presumably returning. Both were impactful in Game 1, but in different facets. Nesmith made a profound impact defensively blocking shots.
Pritchard, on the other hand, put together a strong offensive first half as a secondary creator in-place of Smart, knocking down six of his 16 shot attempts.
Pritchard tallied 18 points off the bench, tying Tyler Herro for the most amongst both teams’ bench players. He added five rebounds, four assists and a steal with four 3s in the losing effort. Nesmith, who hardly played at all in the postseason (seven combined minutes) before Game 1, went scoreless, but had three blocks, a steal and a rebound in 11 minutes.
Smart, Horford availability updates:
As alluded to earlier, Smart — the defensive player of the year — will likely be back after missing Game 1 with a mid-foot sprain he suffered in Game 7 of the semifinal round against the Milwaukee Bucks. Smart was upgraded to probable on Wednesday and his status hasn’t changed, though Udoka said he will test how his foot feels pre-game.
Celtics injury updates per Ime Udoka:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 19, 2022
Al Horford is still doubtful.
Marcus Smart will test his foot pregame, but is probable to play.
Horford, who was placed in the health-and-safety protocols ahead of Game 1, was upgraded from doubtful to questionable Thursday. Tuesday marked the third time Horford was placed in the protocols this season.
How Al Horford can return after positive COVID-19 test:— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 19, 2022
1. Two consecutive negative PCR tests at least 24hrs apart
2. Two consecutive PCR tests at least 24hrs apart w/ CT values greater than 30 starting no sooner than Day 4 & Day 5 (where Day 0 is date of initial positive test)
(UPDATE: Horford is available and will play tonight, per the Celtics.)
The Celtics announce Al Horford is available for tonight's game.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 19, 2022
Both Smart and Horford returning would be a big boost for Boston, who got outscored by 19 points in the second half of Tuesday’s Game 1 — including by 25 points (39-14) in the third quarter — behind Jimmy Butler’s dominant 41-point, nine-rebound, five-assist, four-steal, three-block outing (without hitting a 3-pointer).
Smart’s averaged 15.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals these playoffs on 41.6 percent shooting, 35.4 percent from distance and 79.3 percent from the free-throw line these playoffs. Horford’s posted 13.0 points, 9.4 boards, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks on 52.4 percent shooting, 45.1 percent from 3-point range and 83.3 percent from the charity stripe.
This is a breaking news story. We will update it as more information becomes available.