BOSTON – Before the Eastern Conference semifinals began, the Boston Celtics were the team with injury issues. Paul Pierce (knee), Ray Allen (ankle) and Avery Bradley (shoulder) are all banged up.
But the Philadelphia 76ers may have been the team more affected by injuries in Game 1 on Saturday. Thaddeus Young suffered a bruised shin and sprained ankle in the second quarter when he got kicked by Ryan Hollins. And Elton Brand was dealing with a sore neck that’s been bothering him for the last week.
Neither is expected to miss Game 2 on Monday (7 p.m. ET, TNT), but neither was very effective in Game 1 either. They combined to score just nine points on 3-for-9 from the field and 3-for-8 from the free throw line.
Brand was Philly’s most effective offensive player against Boston in the regular season. But Young’s ineffectiveness was particularly painful on Saturday, because the Celtics went small the entire fourth quarter, and Young wasn’t able to take advantage against a smaller opponent at the four spot. The Sixers were outscored by six points in Young’s 9:16 in the final period.
“I couldn’t really push off the way I wanted to,” Young said. “Every time I tried to push off, it would spasm up or a shot of pain just came through my whole leg.”
Both Brand and Young said that they have no choice but to play through the pain.
“At the end of the day, I’ll be fine,” Young said. “This is what it’s all about, playing through injuries and just going through there and fighting.”
“It’s pretty painful,” Brand said of his neck, “but I think everyone has an ailment right now if you’ve been in the league over five years. So it’s nothing that’s going to not have me out of the game or anything like that.”