Report: Boston Celtics Would Be Missing Two Key Players For Any Playoff Games in Toronto

The first-round playoff matchups have yet to be set, but there is a very real possibility that the Boston Celtics will be facing the Toronto Raptors. And if that's the case, the Celtics will be forced to play the road games in Toronto without two critical parts of their lineup, according to Senior NBA writer Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. 

Mannix recently revealed on Toronto sports radio TSN 1050:

The Celtics have some unvaccinated guys. My understanding is Jaylen Brown is unvaccinated, Al Horford is unvaccinated. 

While the Celtics refuse to admit this publicly, you could say that it was borne out when the Celtics visited Toronto for a game against the Raptors last week, and neither Brown nor Horford were with the team. It's still possible the affected players could choose to get vaccinated before the playoffs and have some eligibility to play later in the series. 

Jaylen Brown evades the vaccination question

Brown, one Boston's 'Big 2' with Jayson Tatum, recently evaded the question when asked if he was vaccinated. “As a vice president of the player’s association, it’s a part of my job description to protect our players’ rights and our medical privacy,” Brown told reporters. “So you won’t hear me comment on my status or anybody else’s. But that’s how I feel about it.”

Thursday night, it was revealed that Matisse Thybulle was not fully vaccinated and unable to play in Toronto, as the Raptors beat a Thybulle-less Philadelphia 76ers 119-114 behind a 37-point triple-double by Pascal Siakam. One could argue that Thybulle might have been a key matchup they Sixers could have used to try to stop Siakam. 

Unvaccinated people entering Canada (or the U.S. for that matter) must go into quarantine for two weeks upon entering the country, which, of course, would make any player ineligible to play unless they crossed the border two weeks beforehand. 

With two games to play in the season, the Raptors are pretty much locked in to the 5-seed in the East. They will face the 4-seed in the first round, which is currently held by the Sixers, but the Celtics are only a half-game up, and the two are tied in the loss column. 

And while some might complain that it's an unfair advantage for the Raptors, this is a team that has been so unfairly treated by the pandemic that they essentially had to play an entire season on the road last year, and then play without home fans for the first half of this season. The Raptors are certainly not shedding any tears for a team that doesn't have all its players fully vaccinated, as the Raptors, and many other teams, do. 

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports