Kelly Olynyk might not be fully healthy in time to compete in the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge. But if he is, his coach isn’t about to hold him out.
“If he’s ready to play, that’s the trainer’s and Kelly’s call,” Brad Stevens said before Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, via Celtics.com. “… Obviously, there’s no way we’d want him to do it unless he was 100 percent healthy.”
Olynyk was chosen Wednesday to compete in the league’s rookie-sophomore showcase for the second time in his two-year career. The center suffered an ankle injury Thursday in Portland, however, which prompted Stevens to send him home after Game 1 of the Celtics’ six-game road trip.
Stevens, who’s said he’s not expecting Olynyk back before the All-Star break, added Wednesday that the big man was snowed in this week with the rest of Boston, which likely set his rehab back a day or two.
The coach also commented on rookie Marcus Smart being snubbed from the Rising Stars roster.
“The honest answer is I feel bad anytime somebody feels like that if they are close to an honor like that,” Stevens said after initially being “at a loss for words,” as Celtics.com’s Marc D’Amico put it. “But in all sincerity, I don’t really care about subjective voting, and I hate voting for it myself.
“From a big-picture standpoint, the honors that you get as a 20-year-old, you’ve got a long life to live after that.”
Olynyk and forward Jared Sullinger both competed in the All-Star weekend event last season — the first Celtics to do so since Rajon Rondo was selected to the sophomore squad in 2008.
This season, the participants will be divided into Team U.S. and Team World, with Olynyk, a native of Canada, playing for the latter.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images