Malcolm Brogdon is still a member of the Boston Celtics, even though he almost wasn’t.
Now that Brad Stevens bit the proverbial bullet and traded Marcus Smart away instead, Brogdon remains and should be in line to resume his usual “sixth man” role in the 2023-24 season. But Brogdon also suffered a serious arm injury during the Eastern Conference Finals, which severely limited him as he tried to play through it.
Fortunately, there’s been a positive update on Brogdon’s murky injury status for next season.
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According to Adam Himmelsbach in a recent notebook for the Boston Globe, a league source says Brogdon is “expected to be back in time for the start of the regular season,” even if he ends up getting surgery. The injury is described here as a right forearm strain, after it was previously bandied about as an elbow issue. Close enough.
But the timetable is still promising news, both for Brogdon and the Celtics. It’s been unclear how Brogdon or the team want to address the injury, which is probably a reflection of their own uncertainty about it. But the C’s seem like they can rest assured that if they end up keeping Brogdon, they’ll have him back and ready to play when the real games start again.
It’s also possible that Stevens still views Brogdon as a trade chip, as he looks to modify the Celtics’ roster for 2023-24. But if he traded Smart and Brogdon, he’d have a real void to fill at guard with only Derrick White, Payton Pritchard, and J.D. Davison remaining under contract.
Perhaps that is a depth chart Stevens would feel relatively comfortable with during the season. But it wouldn’t be surprising if he supplemented that group with a veteran who can replace some of Smart or Brogdon’s strengths, particularly at the defensive end or the three-point line.