Jordan Mickey gets his shot as Celtics MASH unit in full operation with Avery Bradley, Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown all out
|01.11.17 at 7:05 pm ET|
The Celtics are about to find out just how good their bench is.
Brad Stevens opened his Wednesday pre-game media briefing with a painful grin, acknowledging the injury bug that has hit his team this week.
“It’s a long one. James Young is out. Avery Bradley is out. Tyler Zeller is out,” Stevens began. “Amir Johnson sprained his ankle in the first half [Tuesday]. He’s out. And then Jaylen Brown twist his ankle, sprained his ankle, Monday in practice and then played, felt pretty good, but aggravated it and felt sore today and he’s out.
“So who do we have in? I’m 99 percent sure which I’m going to go. I think we’re going to go with Jordan Mickey, with Al [Horford].”
Mickey, the second-round pick in 2015 out of LSU, is making his first NBA start. In nine games this season, he’s averaging 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds in just over seven minutes a game off the bench. In 25 career games, he’s averaging 1.7 points. So, why Mickey for Johnson?
“Keeping the second unit where it is,” Stevens explained. “I like where Jordan is with regard to how he impact with that first unit, rolling to rim and rebounding and defending and those types of things.
“I think the biggest thing is being around him for a year and a half. It’s not just practice, it’s watching him play and do individual workouts. It’s the way he goes through walkthrough, it’s his focus and attention to detail and hey, we’re going to need everybody that’s available to help us tonight. So, I think anytime you get a chance, especially when you talk about how we play with the first group, he’s a good fit for that. Amir’s largely rolling [to the basket] for us. Amir is defending in pick-and-roll and defending from a rebounding angle and everything else. We’re going to need that out of Mick.”
And by the sounds of it, Wednesday might not be a cameo for Mickey, as Johnson’s ankle seems to be a significant injury.
“Sounds like Amir’s [ankle] was pretty swollen earlier [Wednesday]. I’d say that he’s doubtful for the weekend. And Jaylen, I have not heard, from a severity standpoint. But it wasn’t made out to be quite as bad as Amir’s but he’s sore today.”
As for Bradley, who’s missing his third game with a sore right Achilles, Stevens said the soreness is persisting.
“He worked out [Tuesday] and woke up [Wednesday] sore,” Stevens said. “That’s my medical evaluation.”
Will he Bradley be back Friday in Atlanta?
“I have no idea,” Stevens replied. “I have no idea what that means, how sore. I haven’t asked any questions after I got out [vs. Washington].”
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