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Collison and Matthews game-time decisions versus Celtics

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 29: Darren Collison #2 of the Indiana Pacers drives past Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on March 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Pacers have won back-to-back games without Darren Collison (groin) and Wesley Matthews (hamstring) in the lineup.

“We’ve had that all season long,” says head coach Nate McMillan. “Guys have gone down with injuries and guys have stepped in and played well.”

Still, the starting backcourt hopes to be on the floor for Friday’s showdown with the Celtics.

“It felt good,” said Collison after Thursday’s practice. “We’re just taking our time, trying to make sure when I get out there, I’m as healthy as possible. With a groin injury, you can’t rush it. You gotta make sure you’re going out there and doing all the right things to get it ready.”

“We’ll see how it goes throughout the night,” added Matthews. “We put a lot of work in these last couple days.”

Coach McMillan called both Collison and Matthews game-time decisions against the Celtics. Indiana and Boston each have three games left in the season and are tied in the Eastern Conference standings.

“Obviously I’m not one to be excited about missing games,” continued Matthews, “but the end goal is the playoffs and being as healthy as possible.”

“Sitting out in any circumstance, I hate it,” explained Collison. “I pride myself in being able to play as many games as possible, especially at the age I am right now, but this is where we’re at.

“I’d rather be healthy for the playoffs than around this time.”

The Pacers and Celtics are scheduled to tip-off shortly after 8:00 p.m. Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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