Jaylen Brown is back like he never left.
Except he did leave, and while he was gone, he took advantage of the opportunity to learn about the game from a different vantage point.
The Boston Celtics wing made his return Monday in their preseason opener, where he led his team to a 98-97 victory against the Orlando Magic.
With a team-high 25 points, along with four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal, the All-Star had a super efficient 26 minutes in his first game back after wrist surgery prematurely ended his 2020-21 season.
“It held up pretty good,” Brown said of his wrist after the win. “At times it bothered me a little bit, but I’m moving in the right direction. I’m still like 80-85%, but as the season goes on, staying on top of my routine it’s gonna get better. So, today was a good test.”
The 24-year-old tore the scapholunate ligament in his left wrist and had surgery in May, but was ready to participate for training camp.
“Right now I think I’m still ahead of schedule,” Brown said. “Just trying to take it day by day, hopefully there’s no setbacks or things like that. Like today, it held on well. One time I think I got hit and it hurt for a little bit but the adrenaline took over, it kind of wore off. So just continuing to stay with the routine, I mean it’s not gonna be perfect, but I think I’ll be fine.”
His season ending early also helped a lingering knee ailment heal, and Brown says all that time off allowed him to watch a lot of film and learn the game from a new perspective.
“I kind of spent a lot of time watching — watching the playoffs, watching film in the offseason — because I was sidelined,” Brown said. “So now that I’m back, the game definitely feels different, but in a good way.”
Brown was amid the most successful year of his career at the time of the injury, finishing with career-highs in points, assists, steals, blocks, and shooting percentages.
With one preseason game in the books, he looks poised to pick up right where he left off.