BOSTON – Preseason basketball will return to TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. tonight when the Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers. The contest will serve as each team’s initial tune-up of the season.

Unfortunately for Boston, it will not be able to tip off its preseason with a clean bill of health. The C’s have suffered multiple injuries over the course of their first week of training camp, highlighted by the absence of four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo.

Rondo went down on Sept. 25 with a fracture in his left hand. The team captain is expected to miss another five to seven weeks as he recovers from surgery, which was performed on Sept. 26.

The Celtics had managed to stave off the injury bug since Rondo’s injury but that all changed Friday night, when three of their players were dinged up during an intrasquad scrimmage. Jeff Green, Marcus Smart and Brandon Bass all suffered minor injuries.

Green left the scrimmage with a strained left calf and did not practice on Sunday. The team announced Monday morning that he will not play tonight.

Smart’s outlook is a bit more optimistic. He suffered a strained groin and also missed Sunday’s practice, but Brad Stevens left the possibility open that Smart could play and start tonight. The coach labeled Smart as somewhere “between questionable and probable.”

The Celtics do expect Bass, who did practice on Sunday, to play through a corneal abrasion.

The injuries leave Boston’s starting lineup as somewhat of a mystery. The closest thing to a guarantee in the starting lineup is Avery Bradley, who is likely to start at shooting guard. Bradley will be joined in the backcourt by either Smart, if he’s able to play, or newcomer Evan Turner. One would assume that Gerald Wallace will start in place of Green, but the power forward and center …read more