|Jae Crowder takes some steps, Kelly Olynyk showing off some D||03.23.16 at 7:26 pm ET|
Jae Crowder continues to take some small steps on his way back from the high sprain of his right ankle that forced him to miss his sixth straight game Wednesday night against the Raptors.
“He shot [Tuesday] with [assistant coach] Jamie Young for a while,” Brad Stevens said before Wednesday’s game against Toronto. “He shot pregame today but from what I’ve been told, I don’t think there’s any movement shooting. I think it’s just spot shooting so no real update. He’s going to go on our trip. I don’t want to put a timeline on him but I don’t anticipate him playing early in the trip.”
Stevens was asked if he thinks Crowder’s uncertainly might leave the Celtics a bit shorthanded on the five-game trip out West.
“I don’t think so right now. Obviously, if we have more issues, we’ll address as we move forward.”
The Celtics sent Coty Clarke and James Young on the trip out to Texas for games Wednesday and Friday. They are expected to join the Celtics when they begin their trip in Phoenix Saturday night.
“I expect them to, yeah. I haven’t talked to Danny [Ainge] yet. They play on their trip and then they’re going to hop over and join us after that,” Stevens said.
One of the keys to the Celtics keeping pace without Crowder is the continued play of Kelly Olynyk. On Monday, Olynyk scored 22 points off the bench against the Magic. But his defense also made an impact on Stevens.
“I think he’s a position player. He’s a guy that can keep people in front of him,” Stevens said. “He actually switches better than people think. He’s got pretty good feet on the perimeter and he’s good in our pick-and-roll system. Kelly’s greatest strength on the defensive end is adding to the team defense.
“He’ s a guy that’s been here three years and a guy with that kind of size and understands the game and feels good about the game. The game has slowed down for him in some ways and that can have a good impact.”
As anyone knows who watches the Celtics, shot-blocking is not Olynyk’s expertise. He has just 31 blocks in 58 games this season.
“It’s not fair to compare him to a 7-foot shot blocker because he’s not a shot blocker,” Stevens said. “He’s a guy that has to use position, has to use his base, his feet and move and keep guys in front of him, and make the right play. He took the charge in Philly the other night with great positioning. The other day against Orlando, he had some great positioning plays. So, I think it’s a lot less about height. It’s a lot more about being in his stance and playing low and playing lower longer than the guy he’s playing against.”
|Kelly Olynyk does away with shoulder brace, gets ‘back in rhythm’ with 22-point effort in win||03.21.16 at 11:46 pm ET|
In the previous three games with a black shoulder sleeve/brace protecting his injured right shoulder, Kelly Olynyk didn’t look like himself.
The best 3-point shooter on the team (41.3 percent) before his Feb. 10 injury against the Clippers could barely reach the rim with authority on his shot. And he knew it.
He made just one of ten from beyond the arc in losses against the Thunder and Raptors and a win over the Sixers Sunday night, including misses on all four tries in Philadelphia. He was just 5-of-22 overall (22.7 percent).
Something had to change so on Monday, before the game against the Magic, Olynyk decided to go without the brace and the impact was noticeable starting with shootaround, where he was getting more lift on his shot.
It paid off when he hit his first two shots from beyond the arc. He was in a rhythm and that propelled him to a 22-point night off the bench in Boston’s 107-96 win over the Magic at TD Garden.
“Yeah, just getting out there, back in the rhythm, back in motion, yeah, it was better range of motion without the shirt on, definitely. And just went out there and played confidently,” Olynyk said.
“If you miss six weeks of basketball, you’re going to be rusty when you get back,” coach Brad Stevens added. “Every game you play, every practice you have, you feel a little bit better. You don’t know when that’s really going to happen, especially with an upper-body injury where you haven’t been able to shoot much. But you knew it was going to come around at some point.”
|Jonas Jerebko ‘cleared’ for return vs. Magic, Jae Crowder to travel on West Coast trip||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.”
|Brad Stevens on Kelly Olynyk’s return: ‘He looked like a guy that hadn’t played in 5 1/2 weeks’||03.16.16 at 11:14 pm ET|
It was pretty much what Kelly Olynyk and his coach expected Wednesday night.
The 7-footer made his return to the Celtics rotation against the Thunder after missing 12 games with a partially separated right shoulder. Before Olynyk entered the game for Marcus Smart with 4:47 left in the first quarter, his status was up in the air until shortly before game time, when the big man determined he felt good enough to get back on the court.
In his team’s 130-109 blowout loss, Olynyk played 22 minutes off the bench. He certainly showed signs of rust, shooting just 1-for-7 from the field, including 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. He finished with eight points, six of which came from the free throw line.
In his postgame press conference, Celtics coach Brad Stevens did not sugarcoat his evaluation of Olynyk.
“He looked like a guy that hadn’t played in 5 1/2 weeks, which is to be expected,” Stevens said. “Which is why we put him back in at the end of the game. The more minutes the better.”
Olynyk took several hits to his shoulder early in the game, including one from Kevin Durant with 19.4 seconds left in the opening quarter that resulted in him missing one of his two free throws. Olynyk appeared to be uncomfortable at times. He stayed in the game, however, playing through the pain.
“Yeah, took a couple hits to it, little pain and discomfort,” Olynyk said. “And you know, just trying to keep its strength and keep those muscles activated. … hopefully you don’t take too big of a bump, but other than that it felt all right out there. It was just good to get back in the rhythm.”
The Celtics now have dropped three straight games in what is a critical stretch of the season. Next, the team will travel to Toronto to face yet another formidable opponent in the Raptors. Olynyk hopes to put this game in the rearview and help his team pick up a much-needed win Friday.
“It was good to be back out there, unfortunately the game didn’t go the way we wanted,” Olynyk said. “But we have another Friday and we’ve got to keep pushing.”
After 12 games on the sidelines, it appears Kelly Olynyk finally is ready to return to action.
Olynyk is expected to return from his partially separated right shoulder just in time to take on Kevin Durant and the Thunder on Wednesday at TD Garden.
“Kelly told me at shootaround that he thinks he’s going to give it a go, but we’ll wait till he gets through all this stuff, but it sounds like he’s going to try to give it a go,” coach Brad Stevens said an hour, 45 minutes before tipoff Wednesday. “We’ll see how much he plays. Obviously he hasn’t done much other than our practices the last five-plus weeks.”
Olynyk injured the shoulder in the first half of the game against the Clippers on Feb. 10 at the Garden. It appeared that he would be ready to go Tuesday in Indiana after taking part in a full contact practice on Sunday. But he was held out after indicating to coaches that he wasn’t quite ready.
“I think [confidence] is a big deal,” Stevens said. “That’s depending on how much pain you’re having. There’s only one person that can answer that question and that’s him. That’s why he’s been smart about it. We didn’t want him to come back until he was ready to roll and didn’t feel tentative. He’s going to have some pain there and that’s part of it. But I think at the end of the day he feels more comfortable today than he has before.”
The Celtics could use Olynyk’s 3-point prowess. He leads the team at 41.3 percent. The Celtics have converted just 16 of 63 from beyond the arc in the last two games, both losses.
“If you’re going to play small, you better be able to shoot,” Stevens said. “You better be able to make shots or you better be able to get out in transition and really run because otherwise the lane’s clogged. We’re going to have to continue to find better shots than we did last night. I thought we guarded about as well as we could have last night. That’ll be significantly tested again. Hey, this is a tough stretch of games for us. I’m conscious of that. At the same time, I think we need to play better offensively to beat a team of this caliber.”
|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.”
|Kelly Olynyk misses 11th straight game, Jared Sullinger (skin infection) good to go||03.11.16 at 7:10 pm ET|
The status remains the same on Kelly Olynyk.
The 7-foot sharp-shooter was ruled out Friday night before the Celtics took the court against the Rockets, the 11th straight game he’s missed since partially separating his right shoulder in the first half against the Clippers on Feb. 10.
“[He’s] not playing. We didn’t do anything today,” Stevens said before Friday’s game. “I’m assuming he’ll just stay on the same path of progress and feel better and better as he move towards next week’s games.”
The Celtics play four of their next five on the road, visiting Indiana next Tuesday before coming home to play the Thunder on Wednesday at the Garden. They will head on the road to play in Toronto next Friday and in Philadelphia on March 20.
As for Jared Sullinger and his skin infection that had him wearing a wrap around his stomach against Memphis, Stevens said he was again ready to go. Sullinger hasn’t missed any game action but hasn’t taken part in the team’s practice on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. Stevens said the team didn’t want Sullinger to “overdo it” in practice and re-hydrate after the events earlier in the week.
“He looks to me like he’s got a different bounce,” Stevens said pre-game Friday. “We did a little jog-through and he looked good.”
Sullinger was limited to just 12 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes against Memphis, as his stomach wrap had to be re-applied. In his nine previous games, Sullinger was averaging 12.4 points and 10.6 rebounds, including five double-doubles.
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