WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics returned to the practice court Tuesday, but Kelly Olynyk remained sidelined as he continues his recovery from a sprained ankle.
Head coach Brad Stevens said Olynyk “was feeling a little bit better” when he spoke with the big man Sunday, but he doesn’t expect to have him back for Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks — Boston’s last before the All-Star break.
The coach added that he has “no idea” whether Olynyk, who has begun doing some stationary shooting, will able to participate in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, which will showcase the NBA’s top first- and second-year players. The chances of Olynyk playing in the game appear slim — he’s missed 10 games since injuring his ankle in Portland — but Stevens said he will not bar the second-year center from participating if he’s fully healed.
“If he’s healthy and would be able to play for us, we think it’s a good thing to play,” Stevens said. “Even though it will be more of an All-Star-type of game, it’s still good to get out and run around a bit if you haven’t been able to do anything for the last couple of weeks.”
Olynyk is the Celtics’ only All-Star weekend participant. He also participated in last season’s Rising Stars Challenge along with teammate Jared Sullinger.
— More than a week still remains before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, meaning president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has plenty of time left to trade away some of the Celtics’ remaining veteran pieces if he so chooses. With the Celtics very much in the thick of a rebuild, center Tyler Zeller admitted that the unpredictability of this time of year has players on their toes.
“I think things have slowed down a lot recently, but at the same time, you never know what’s going to happen,” Zeller said. “From my first two years in the league, I’ve learned that week leading up to (the deadline) is a crazy week where a lot of things start to happen, and especially that last day.”
— The Celtics’ final opponent before the break will be a loaded Hawks squad that’s won an astounding 20 of 22 games since the calendar flipped to 2015. After an undefeated January, all five Atlanta starters were honored as co-Eastern Conference Players of the Month — the first time the NBA has awarded such an honor to an entire unit.
“They deserved it,” Zeller said. “They didn’t lose for the whole month.”
— The Celtics announced Tuesday that they have recalled rookie guard Andre Dawkins from the D-League. Dawkins, who is in his second 10-day contract with the team, has yet to see game action for Boston but has appeared in seven games for the Maine Red Claws, averaging 16.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
— With the most recent winter storm canceling Monday’s practice, Stevens said he was able to take a rare moment to breathe and really examine where his team needs to improve for what will be a brutally busy March. When he wasn’t shoveling, that is.
“Driveway is cleared,” he said with a smile. “I spent some of (Monday) doing what everybody else spent some of (Monday) doing.”
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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