UPDATE (6:00 p.m. ET): Kelly Olynyk is available to play for the Boston Celtics in their critical Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks after sitting out the past two contests with a shoulder injury.
ORIGINAL STORY: BOSTON — The injury-bitten Celtics will enter Game 4 with a bit more manpower.
Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk is expected to play Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks in the critical fourth game of the teams’ best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens confirmed Olynyk will be active for Game 4, but wouldn’t guarantee the 25-year-old forward will see the floor at TD Garden.
“It’s going to be up to me, because he hasn’t done anything in a few days as we’ve walked through,” Stevens said. “Certainly, I think that he could play minutes for us in the first half. He could play some, but he’s not necessarily going to be in it for sure. So, we’ll see. But he is available.”
Olynyk, who missed nearly a month this season with a separated right shoulder, sat out Games 2 and 3 after aggravating the injury last Saturday in Boston’s Game 1 loss. Stevens said he found out at the team’s walkthrough Sunday afternoon that Olynyk would be good to go for Game 4.
“We’ll play it by ear, see how the game’s going and everything else, and see what direction we decide to go,” Stevens said. “But certainly, it’s great that he’s available, and certainly a chance that he plays for us.”
Olynyk, who will wear tape on his right shoulder in Sunday’s game, admitted he’ll likely be dealing with the effects of the injury throughout Boston’s postseason run but said he feels well enough to return to action Sunday.
“You never know until you’re really out there, but it’s at a point where you’re able to at least give it a try,” Olynyk said before the game. “So, we’ll see how it turns out.”
Olynyk can give the Celtics a big lift if he plays significant minutes. Boston has struggled to score this series outside Isaiah Thomas’ 42-point outburst in Game 3, and Olynyk can stretch the floor as one of the Celtics’ better 3-point shooters.
The C’s trail two games to one in the series ahead of Sunday’s contest at TD Garden, which tips off at 6 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images