|Jonas Jerebko ‘cleared’ for return vs. Magic, Jae Crowder to travel on West Coast trip||03.21.16 at 6:43 pm ET|
The Celtics will get a key part of their bench back when they take on the Magic at TD Garden.
Brad Stevens confirmed before Monday’s game that that the 6-foot-10 power forward will be available off Boston’s bench after missing the last three games with a sore Achilles that forced him to stay back in Boston and receive extensive treatment.
The Celtics missed him in losses to the more versatile Thunder on Wednesday and the Raptors on Friday. The Celtics were able to compensate against the 61-loss 76ers on Sunday.
“Jonas is, from everything I’ve been told, cleared to play tonight,” Stevens said.
Jerebko is averaging just 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 66 games this season but gives Stevens an important matchup tool against the longer front courts they face.
As for Jae Crowder, the starting swingman is still undergoing treatment on the high sprain of his right ankle. He suffered the injury against the Rockets on March 11 and has missed the last four games after starting in Boston’s first 66 games. The team is sticking to the minimum prognosis of two weeks to heal enough to return to game action.
“Jae is progressing well,” Stevens said. “We think he’s about on the same timetable that I initially gave you. Obviously, he’s going to end up being two [weeks] this week. Minimum of two [weeks] but most likely that’s a very, very conservative estimate.”
“I haven’t even seen him. I just get told that he’s improved. We’ve been gone. He’s been here with our trainers so I get a daily update. I saw him today, real briefly, before he went back into his rehab. He said he’s feeling better. There’s a big difference between that and playing in a game.”
Stevens said he’s not going to get involved in trying to adjust the timetable, should Crowder push the team to rush him back to action.
“I don’t even get into it. That’s our doctors and our trainers and our players,” Stevens said. “I think my best job is to stay away from getting in the middle of those conversations because I know he really wants to play. I know he wants to expedite that. But as a coach, I have to trust all those guys to make the right decision.”
The most encouraging news Monday was Stevens’ declaration that Crowder would be making the five-game trip out West, starting Saturday in Phoenix.
“For sure, it’s a long trip. And it’s within that timeframe where he could play again so who knows when but certainly the plan is to take him on the trip.”
Kelly Olynyk is another player trying to find his rhythm after suffering a right shoulder injury on Feb. 10. Olynyk missed 12 games before returning against the Pacers last Tuesday. He is still struggling to find his offensive rhythm, as indicated by his 0-for-4 performance from 3-point range (2-for-8 overall) Sunday night in Philadelphia. In three games back, Olynyk has made just five of 22 shots from the floor (22.7 percent) and just one of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc.
“You have to ask him,” Stevens said of Olynyk’s comfort level. “I’m not sure. That would be a question for him. I think he’s looking fine. I think his shot looks good. It’s just probably feel for him to see a few go down.”
|Jonas Jerebko out 2nd straight game with Achilles injury that is ‘not a long term thing’||03.18.16 at 8:40 pm ET|
The injury bug has picked a bad time to hit the Celtics.
Already without Jae Crowder due to a high sprain of his right ankle, forward Jonas Jerebko didn’t even make the trip to Toronto, staying home in Boston to get treatment of a sore Achilles.
After not playing in Boston’s 130-109 loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Jerebko remaining in Boston to get treatment. Stevens told reporters in Toronto before Friday’s game that he would miss Friday’s game and Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters that Jerebko was not with the team in Toronto.
“We left him at home to get treatment,” Stevens said. “It’s not a long-term thing.”
Without Crowder and Jerebko, Stevens was stripped of two of his most versatile post players, and it showed early. Luis Scola went off for 17 points as the Raptors built a 19-point first-half lead.
Jerebko could be back in time for Monday’s game against the Magic at TD Garden. The Celtics could use him right about now.
|Jae Crowder injury blessing in disguise?||03.17.16 at 1:59 am ET|
Jae Crowder has only missed the last two games due to a high ankle sprain, but his value to the Celtics has never been more clear than it is right now.
The main causes of back-to-back losses to the Thunder and Pacers has been a combined 53 points from the opposing starting small forwards — Kevin Durant and Paul George. Toss in Friday night’s loss against perimeter scoring stud James Harden’s Rockets (the game Crowder went down) and it’s pretty evident that the C’s desperately miss Crowder’s services.
Crowder has been on an interesting NBA journey of late. An afterthought in the Rajon Rondo trade with Dallas, the Marquette product impressed during his four-month stint in Boston last season. So much so that Danny Ainge inked him to a five-year $35 million deal — a hefty commitment to someone who hadn’t been productive for all that long.
Fast-forward less than a year and the deal appears to be another genius move by Ainge, as Crowder is widely considered one of the best contracts in the NBA. Put him on the open market this offseason and he’s easily worth double what Ainge scooped him up for.
After a season of praise for the rising star, and deservingly so, Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Thunder offered the perfect excuse for Crowder’s coach and teammates to deflect admitting just how much they’re really missing him.
“Hey, I think Jae’s really, really good,” Brad Stevens said following the 130-109 defeat. “But I think we would’ve needed our whole team to play better tonight. Obviously we missed Jae, we love having Jae, we want him to be healthy and back. But we have to play well without him. That’s the bottom line. There should be no excuses.”
|Isaiah Thomas says Celtics ‘punked’ by Thunder, ‘soft as tissue’ in embarrassing loss||03.16.16 at 11:58 pm ET|
Isaiah Thomas was embarrassed.
Even though he scored a game-high 29 points and made 11-of-19 shots from the floor, he was embarrassed by his team’s 130-109 loss to the Thunder at TD Garden before a national TV audience.
The Celtics gave up 42 points in the third quarter, the most points they’ve surrendered in any 12-minute period this season. The 130 points were the most they’ve allowed in regulation this season and the most any Celtics team has allowed in regulation since 2004.
Kelly Olynyk’s returned from a 12-game absence due to a shoulder injury didn’t overcome the loss of Jae Crowder (ankle) for a second straight game. Not even close.
At one point of the third quarter, it got so bad, the Celtics trailed by 30.
“They punked us. We played soft as tissue,” Thomas lamented. “That third quarter, they took advantage of every little thing they could have. With a good team like that, you can’t have that happen. So, whoever is playing, whether Jae’s out, Kelly’s back, they punked us. That was basically what it was. They were the tougher team, no question.”
|Jordan Mickey recalled in time for Celtics’ trip to Indiana||03.14.16 at 6:01 pm ET|
Before taking off for their trip to Indianapolis and a Tuesday meeting with the Pacers, the Celtics recalled forward Jordan Mickey from the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.
The move is likely just depth at the 3/4 position as the Celtics cope with the loss of Jae Crowder for at least two weeks with a high ankle sprain to his right foot.
Mickey has turned into a shot-blocking phenom, blocking four shots (three in the first quarter) against Grand Rapids on Sunday in the Red Claws’ 129-123 victory.
Mickey also tallied a double-double with a team-high 28 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and a steal in 32 minutes of action. He has played in 23 games for Maine this season and is averaging 17.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 4.4 blocks per game in that span.
Mickey blocked three shots in a span of five seconds last Wednesday in a win over Memphis at TD Garden.
Coach Brad Stevens said the team would likely consider a number of options to replace Crowder’s minutes, most likely involving Evan Turner and James Young.
|With Jae Crowder out, James Young might finally be ‘shooting’ his way to playing time||at 10:01 am ET|
WALTHAM — The time may finally be right for James Young to show what he’s got.
The second-year forward out of Kentucky, drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft by the Celtics (17th overall), is one of the leading candidates to fill in while Jae Crowder heals from a high ankle sprain suffered last Friday against the Rockets.
Young is still only 20 years old but already it feels like he’s been around the block for the Celtics. In his rookie season, he was assigned to the Maine Red Claws 11 times, averaging 20.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals in 19 games. But it’s the shooting Young has been working to improve. At Kentucky, he shot 40.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range. In five summer league games this past year, he averaged 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in five games but shot just 27.1 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three-point range.
This year, the shuttle back and forth has continued, with nine more assignments, including six in this calendar year alone. This year in 10 games for Maine, he’s averaged 14.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. He’s only shooting 36.6 percent but it’s his 6-foot-6 athleticism that could come in handy as the Celtics look for someone to help fill the minutes of the injury Crowder.
“He shot the heck out of it,” Brad Stevens said after practice on Sunday. “One thing James has done is gotten good game reps in, because he’s also played in Maine. He had a good practice [Sunday].”
Young has averaged just 2.4 points and 9.1 minutes in 55 career games for the Celtics. Now, he may get a chance to actually add significantly to those totals.
Rated a five-star recruit by ESPN.com, Young was listed as the No. 3 small forward and the No. 8 player in the nation in 2013 at Kentucky. He was a starter on the Wildcats team that lost to UConn in the 2014 NCAA title game. He left after that season and missed Kentucky’s run at an undefeated season that ended with a national semifinal loss to Wisconsin last year.
|An improving Kelly Olynyk ‘striving for’ Tuesday return||03.13.16 at 3:48 pm ET|
WALTHAM — After missing the last 11 games with a partially separated right shoulder, Kelly Olynyk seemed a bit more optimistic Sunday that he could return Tuesday against Indiana.
“It’s feeling better. It’s loosening up,” said Olynyk, who suffered the injury in the first half of the Feb. 10 game against the Clippers. “The muscle is getting stronger each day from [strength and conditioning trainer Bryan Doo] and that’s really what it comes down to, if it’s strong enough to rebound and take a hit and help shoot the ball.”
Olynyk suggested that a Tuesday return, after a week of working to loosen up the shoulder in practice, is now realistic.
“That’s what we’re striving for,” he said. “It’ll still be a game-time kind of thing. That’s what we’re looking at and trying to do.”
“You have to have to confidence and you have to know your shoulder’s gonna be strong enough to do the things you need to do. That’s what it comes down to. If you’re not then you’re not helping the team. You’re hindering the team and you’re putting the team at a disadvantage, and that’s not what you want to do.”
That would be a sight for sore eyes to Brad Stevens, who will be without his best versatile defender in Jae Crowder, out at least two weeks with a high ankle sprain.
“He went through the whole practice and we did quite a bit of up and down, quite a bit of scrimmage, quite a bit of live action. So he’ll be dependent on how he feels, and I’m sure he’ll get with our trainers [Sunday night and Monday], and come up with that plan. But it’s good that there’s some optimism there. Certainly it’d be good to have him back.”
“They’re gonna need somebody,” Olynyk said. “They’re gonna need a body. Jae’s a big void to fill. He’s been playing great for us the whole year at both ends of the floor, scoring, rebounding, defending. He’s a tough person to fill by a single person so we’re gonna need a lot of guys to step up in his absence.
How did he look in practice Sunday?
“Solid. I mean, I thought he was good,” Stevens said. “One of the reasons why we played a little bit was so that he could get up and down and kind of get the rust off a little bit.”
“I went through a full practice, tried to do everything, as many reps as I could to just get back in the flow of things. I just tried to test it as much as I could,” Olynyk added. “It’s been good. There hasn’t been as much of a dip. It’s staying pretty strong. It’s staying pretty, away from the soreness. It’s been good throughout that so hopefully it can stay that way and there’s nothing that happens.”
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