Celtics defensive ace Jrue Holiday out indefinitely with ‘dead arm’

Celtics defensive ace Jrue Holiday out indefinitely with ‘dead arm’


Jrue Holiday of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game agaisnt the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, March 23, 2024. /CFP

The Boston Celtics will continue to lack their elite perimeter defender Jrue Holiday indefinitely because he has been dealing with a “dead arm,” the player told Boston Globe on Friday.

Holiday, 33, had made a total of 61 appearances for the Celtics so far in the 2023-24 season but was out for the last four games.

“I’m feeling something, for sure,” Holiday said. “I still want to play. That’s part of the reason I play basketball. But it’s also keeping rhythm. Sometimes, when you’re out for a long time, you break rhythm, but I feel like I’ve been in a good groove and I want to continue to play.”

Holiday was first traded by the Milwaukee Bucks to the Portland Trail Blazers in a blockbuster deal for Damian Lillard in summer 2023 and then sent to the Celtics. He’s averaged 12.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and two triples at career-high 44.5 percent per game for the Celtics. On the team’s regular rotations, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis and even Derrick White shoulder bigger offensive roles than him.

Jrue Holiday (#4) of the Boston Celtics dribbles in the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2024. /CFPJrue Holiday (#4) of the Boston Celtics dribbles in the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2024. /CFP

However, Holiday’s defensive contributions to the Celtics are irreplaceable. Despite his 1.93-meter height, Holiday often switched up to guard forwards and even big men thanks to his remarkable power. It’s hard to imagine that the team can maintain the NBA’s third-best defensive rating of 111.5 without him.

Of course, the Celtics have good reasons to be patient and cautious with Holiday’s health since they are leading the league with a 57-14 record, 11.5 games ahead of the Bucks in the Eastern Conference. They are very likely to secure home court advantage throughout the postseason series.

“He’s in good shape. He’s doing well. He’s getting better,” the Celtics’ head coach Joe Mazzulla said of Holiday.

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