Virus-hit Celtics down to NBA minimum eight to face Miami

Washington (AFP) –


The Boston Celtics had an NBA minimum eight players available to face the Miami Heat due to seven Covid-19 protocol absentees, the team announced Sunday.

The Celtics, who share the Eastern Conference lead with Philadelphia at 7-3, host the Heat (4-4) on Sunday night.

Celtics scoring leader Jayson Tatum and blocked shots leader Robert Williams have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

Also sidelined Sunday due to NBA virus health and safety protocols are Jaylen Brown, Javonte Green, Semi Ojeleye, Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams.

The Celtics were also already missing guard Kemba Walker with a left knee injury and Romeo Langford after right wrist surgery.

While Marcus Smart has started nine games for Boston and center Daniel Theis has started every game for the Celtics, the other six players available have a combined two starts among them all.

The Heat have only Avery Bradley in the Covid-19 protocol.

It's unclear when the Celtics can expect players to return as they start a run of four games in six days, visiting Chicago on Tuesday and playing Orlando at home on Wednesday and Friday.