The Boston Celtics got some exciting new additions this offseason, but they still didn’t enter the 2016-17 campaign fully healthy.
They’ll take one more step toward that goal Wednesday night, however.
That’s good news for the Celtics, whose defense has struggled in Smart’s absence over the first three games — they allowed 117 points to the lowly Brooklyn Nets on Opening Night and 105 points in a loss to the Bulls last Thursday. Smart is one of Boston’s best defenders and also can help the team’s offensive performance off the bench.
The 22-year-old already has dealt with his fair share of injuries, which kept him out of 21 games last season. But he’s feeling confident ahead of his 2016-17 debut Wednesday.
Let’s hit a few other notes out of Monday’s newsy Celtics practice:
— Kelly Olynyk’s outlook doesn’t look as rosy. The C’s big man also practiced Monday but isn’t expected to return until at least next week, head coach Brad Stevens said.
“I thought Kelly looked fine,” Stevens said, via MassLive.com’s Jay King. “He hasn’t gotten a full practice in since last Tuesday because we haven’t practiced. But his is all about how he feels tomorrow. And then next day. And just making sure that shoulder recovers after each of these sessions. But he’s on scheduled for a return at some point soon. Most likely not this week.”
Olynyk told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett over the weekend it likely will be “a few more weeks” before he’s able to return from offseason right shoulder surgery.
“I think that’s probably what it’ll be,” Olynyk said. “It’s when you feel ready to play, man. When you feel strong, feel confident, feel like you’re coming in to help the team.”
Olynyk, who underwent the surgery on May 16, told Bulpett his shoulder is getting stronger but admitted he doesn’t want to risk re-injury by returning too soon.
“Yeah, you don’t want to come back and be pulled back out like last year,” Olynyk said. “I don’t want to do that. When I’m in, I’m in for good, ready to roll.”
— Smart reportedly got more good news Monday: The Celtics have exercised Smart’s fourth-year contract option for the 2017-18 season, the team announced. Boston also announced it has exercised guard Terry Rozier’s third-year option for next season.
— James Young, who recently beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics’ 15th roster spot, reportedly wasn’t as lucky.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images