BOSTON — Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris sprained his left ankle in the first half of Sunday’s Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics and did not return but said he plans to play in Tuesday’s Game 2.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after Boston’s 123-111 victory that he did not have an update on Morris, who will be re-evaluated on Monday, but admitted the injury did not look good.
Inside the Wizards’ locker room, Morris remained adamant he’d play.
“For sure,” said Morris. “Hell yeah. It ain’t broke. It’s what I do.”
Morris said he wanted to come back into Sunday’s Game 1 but was held out by the team. Said Morris: “It’s a long series.”
Morris rolled the ankle after he landed awkwardly on Al Horford‘s foot while making a jumper with 7:18 remaining in the second quarter.
Morris stayed down in front of the Washington bench as teammates circled him. He eventually got to his feet and limped to the foul line in order to take the free throw that ensured he could potentially return to the game. Morris made the free throw and the Wizards fouled to sub him out.
Morris walked to the bench but soon after walked gingerly to the locker room. The Wizards initially deemed him questionable to return, but he was ruled out early in the second half.
Morris finished with five points on 2-of-7 shooting and three rebounds. The Wizards went small with Kelly Oubre Jr. with the starters to open the third quarter, and Boston outscored Washington 36-16 in the frame.
An injury to Morris could be particularly crippling to the Wizards because of their lack of overall depth.
“We lose a lot of aggression, a guy who can space the floor for us, the way they switch a lot, he can post up, score in the post for us, and take the pressure off me and Brad [Beal] at times,” said Wizards guard John Wall. “Like we say, when somebody goes down, it’s the next man up. We just couldn’t make shots. We had a lot of opportunities and we just fell short.”
Brooks echoed Wall on the next man up mentality.
“It definitely changes things but we got the next man up. We have to figure out how to compete and I thought our guys did a pretty good job. We let the 3-point ball get away from us but that’s what they do. They shoot over 37 3s per game in the playoffs and they were 19 for 39, it’s hard to do that when nobody is guarding you.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted that Morris’ availability might alter the lineups that Boston uses moving forward. Boston started Marcus Smart in place of Gerald Green in the second half and rallied ahead after trailing by as much as 17 in the first half.