BOSTON – Whew! If there was a phrase to sum up the sensation across the Celtics on Monday evening, it was that: Whew.
Begin with heart Daniel Theis, who was standing in entrance of his locker, holding out his proper hand like a newly engaged fiancée displaying off a marriage ring. Besides Theis was displaying the mangled pinky finger on his proper hand, which had been dislocated—twice—in the course of the course of the sport in opposition to Dallas and popped again into place each time.
Wouldn’t it want weeks in a solid? Surgical procedure? Amputation? “Nah, it’ll be all proper,” Theis mentioned.
Subsequent to Theis was Enes Kanter, again on the ground for the primary time since struggling a left knee contusion three weeks in the past within the Celtics’ opener, however enjoying solely six minutes. Was Kanter nonetheless harm? Was he offended in regards to the lack of flooring time? Would he angrily demand a commerce?
Nope. He was simply on a minutes restriction, he mentioned. “I’m cool with it,” Kanter mentioned. “I simply wished to go on the market and be with my teammates, even when it was one minute. It simply feels so good to go on the market and do my job for certain.”
In the meantime, the media horde, armed with recorders and cellphones, awaited the looks of Kemba Walker, who mysteriously left the sport and went to the locker room after getting some on-bench remedy for an obvious neck damage.
All this got here two hours after the Celtics launched the official timetable for the return of ahead Gordon Hayward from the damaged hand he suffered on Saturday in San Antonio. Hayward had surgical procedure on Monday night in New York and was given an anticipated restoration time of six weeks, or simply forward of Christmas.
The Celtics are Eight-1, perched atop the Jap Convention—and the entire of the NBA. It was anticipated that Boston would maintain its personal within the common season, although with decreased expectations after shedding Kyrie Irving and Al Horford final summer time and changing them with Walker and Kanter. However this type of begin didn’t look like within the stars for the Celtics.
So there may be sensitivity to the potential for extra bumps and bruises (or, heaven forbid, tears and fractures) being added to the Hayward pile. If the Celtics are enjoying at a too-good-to-be-true stage, maybe will probably be accidents that sluggish them down. This workforce is younger and never precisely loaded with dependable depth. Crooked fingers, contused knees and sore necks are taking over extra significance right here at TD Backyard nowadays.
Walker’s was particularly worrisome. With Hayward out, he might want to carry a fair larger offensive load, as he did in opposition to the Mavs with 29 factors on 9-for-17 taking pictures (Eight-for-14 from the Three-point line). With slightly below three minutes to play, Walker mentioned Mavs star Luka Doncic minimize him off a bit and the 2 collided. His head snapped again.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens described it as, “whiplash.” Walker shrugged off the damage and known as it a stinger. mentioned the remedy he bought after the sport was regular. “Nothing additional in any respect,” he mentioned.
Whew! Walker ought to be advantageous. Hayward ought to be again earlier than Santa arrives. A innocent finish to a nerve-wracking evening.
The Celtics have factor going, in any case. They got here into Recreation 9 with the No. 2-rated offense (112.zero factors per 100 possessions) and the No. 7 protection (102.four). Their internet ranking of 9.5 was the very best within the league. That each one bodes nicely for this workforce’s future.
However the short-term nonetheless is centered on getting accustomed to enjoying with out Hayward. Boston doesn’t want additional subtractions at this level.
“In fact it’s going to be powerful, making an attempt to make up for a participant of Gordon’s caliber,” Walker mentioned. “He’s an important participant however we even have guys who you realize can do lots to assist this workforce. And also you see JB (Jaylen Brown), he stepped up and performed large. (Marcus) Good he’s at all times going to be him. … Guys simply should step up their video games and that’s simply the way it must be, it’s all in regards to the subsequent man and that’s what it’s going to be for us all 12 months.”
That, the Celtics hope, consists of dodging extra accidents. This prolonged Hayward absence might be troublesome sufficient. There have been some shut calls on Monday, however nothing main.