Celtics' Jaylen Brown leaves game after scary post-dunk fall on his neck and back

Things got extremely scary late in the third quarter of Thursday’s nationally televised game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. Thankfully, the outcome wasn’t nearly as terrifying as it originally seemed to be.

With Boston holding an 80-69 lead and just over a minute and a half to go in the period, rising Celtics star Jaylen Brown rebounded a missed hook shot by Minnesota All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, raced down the court, split two defenders in the paint and elevated for a dunk. Unfortunately, in a similar play to one involving Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn a couple of months ago, Brown’s hands seemed to slip off the rim before he was ready to let go, throwing off the balance on his dismount.

Instead of coming down gracefully on his two feet, as he has so many times before, Brown instead fell flat on his back and neck, folding up violently on the baseline under the basket to the court after a fast-break dunk and landed directly on his back and neck:

The fall left Brown briefly laying nearly motionless along the baseline. Teammates and medical personnel rushed to his side as he writhed in pain on the court. Everyone in Target Center waited with bated breath for him to start showing signs that the worst-case scenario situation they feared they’d seen hadn’t come to pass.

Thankfully, after a few tense minutes, Brown was able to get back to his feet and walk off the court under his own steam, waving to the stands as he headed back to the locker room serenaded by the applause and cheers of the Target Center faithful:

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Celtics announced that Brown would be evaluated for concussion symptoms, and would miss the remainder of the game. The 21-year-old had scored 14 points on 4-for-10 shooting to go with five rebounds in 28 minutes before his heartstopping fall and exit.

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Celtics' Jaylen Brown suffers scary fall onto neck, back
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Celtics' Jaylen Brown suffers scary fall onto neck, back
Mar 8, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) dunks in the third quarter against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics is checked on by team officials and teammate Al Horford #42 after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics is checked on by team officials and teammate Al Horford #42 after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics is checked on by team officials and teammates after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Mar 8, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reacts after guard Jaylen Brown (not pictured) falls in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics is checked on by team officials and teammates after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics is checked on by team officials and teammates after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics walks off the court after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 08: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics walks off the court after a hard fall during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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We’ll have to wait on further testing to reveal the extent of the injuries he did suffer. For now, though, we can at least thank heaven for the small mercy of knowing the one he didn’t, by virtue of Brown getting back to his feet and walking off the floor.

The early returns, for what it’s worth, seem encouraging:

The Celtics recovered from the loss of Brown, bouncing back to knock off the Timberwolves 117-109 behind big games from All-Stars Kyrie Irving (23 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) and Al Horford (20 points, eight rebounds, six assists, strong defense on Towns). The win improved Boston to 46-20, two games behind the Toronto Raptors in the race for the No. 1 seed in the East. It also clinched a fourth straight playoff berth for Brad Stevens’ club, as the Celtics join the Raptors as the league’s first teams to officially punch their tickets to the 2018 postseason.

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Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

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