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Breaking: 2 Key Celtics Players Are Out For Game 1

A general view of the Boston Celtics court.

BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: A general view of TD Garden during Game Seven of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards on May 15, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics will begin the Eastern Conference Finals short-handed Tuesday night.

Hours before Game 1's 8:30 p.m. ET tipoff, the Celtics ruled out Marcus Smart and Al Horford for the series-opener against the Miami Heat.

Smart's absence isn't a surprise, as Boston slapped a questionable designation on the Defensive Player of the Year yesterday after he suffered a right mid-foot sprain in Sunday's Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

However, Horford is an unexpected inactive due to health and safety protocols. As of now, no further information is available on the big man's status.

Losing both players is a massive blow to the Celtics.

Often lauded as the heart and soul of the team, Smart has averaged 15.0 points and 6.2 assists per game during the postseason. Boston nevertheless handily beat the Bucks without him in Game 2 despite receiving zero points from replacement starter Derrick White.

Boston likely would not have defeated Milwaukee without Horford, who carried the No. 2 seed to a Game 4 victory with 30 points. The 35-year-old also averaged 10.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game through the second-round series.

The Celtics will at least welcome back Robert Williams, who missed the last four games with a knee injury. They'll need big minutes from the 24-year-old with Horford sidelined.