Romeo Langford made his long-awaited return to the Boston Celtics on Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets.
The second-year guard, who missed the first 49 games of the 2021 season due to offseason wrist surgery and a positive COVID-19 test, fared pretty well in his first game back.
“Yeah, he was good,” head coach Brad Stevens said on a video conference after the Celtics’ 116-86 win over the Hornets. “Solid. Obviously, it was nice to have him back on the floor and, after he caught the ball out of bounds on the first catch, I thought he did a lot of good things.”
Kemba Walker added: “It was great to have him. Romeo is a really important piece of what we want to do. … I’m excited for him, excited for his opportunity because he’s gotten so much better.”
Langford played 12 minutes off the bench. He came in with two minutes left in the first quarter and made a handful of contributions early, including a nice block at the rim on Charlotte’s Miles Bridges and a 3-pointer to start Boston’s second-quarter scoring.
“It felt good to get back out there, get my legs back under me and just compete with my teammates,” Langford said on a postgame video conference. “I had 12 minutes, it felt good. I wasn’t too tired. I wasn’t exhausted. So, it was good.”
Langford’s defensive versatility was on display during much of those 12 minutes, too. It’s one of the more prominent aspects he believes he brings to the table.
“I think it’s just one less guy that our team has to worry about,” Langford said. “I feel like I’m my best in isolation things and not letting my guy go around me. So with that being said, it means the team doesn’t really have to over-help as much and give up more threes when it comes to the guy that I?m checking.”
“It was pretty bad for when I had the symptoms,” Langford said. “I had the symptoms for about four or five days and it hit me pretty hard. I felt like I had a really bad flu and then I ended up losing my taste and smell. I really still can’t smell that much. So I wasn?t really allowed to do anything for two and a half weeks. So my main thing coming back was just getting my wind and getting my feel for the game and feeling the ball and stuff like that.”
Stevens noted before the game he didn’t have any expectations for Langford in the next week or two. The plan, Stevens explained, is to help Langford return to form which, in turn, will lead to more extended minutes.
Langford and the Celtics will return to TD Garden on Tuesday as they host the Philadelphia 76ers.