Payton Pritchard, face mask and all, will be available for the Boston Celtics when they open the season Wednesday against the New York Knicks.
Pritchard broke his nose in the Celtics’ third preseason game against the Orlando Magic. He was evaluated for the injury in Florida and returned to Boston after, forgoing the team’s scheduled trip to finish out the preseason against the Miami Heat.
But several days later, the update from Prichard himself — and the photo evidence shared by the Celtics on social media — seems promising. In fact, the Oregon product didn’t even realize the severity of the injury when he was first hit by Iggy Brazdeikas.
“When it originally happened I didn’t know,” he said, as seen in a video the Celtics posted on Twitter. “I just thought it was a regular hit. Obviously felt I got hit hard, but once the blood started running I knew I had to come out. I tried to come back in the game because I didn’t know my nose was broken, but it ended up being broken.”
Per Souichi Terada of MassLive, Pritchard said he was fitted for a protective mask Thursday and participated in a non-contact practice with a taped nose Sunday.
The second-year Celtic is poised for a breakout season, so the fact that he’ll be able to join the team for the first game of the season is a big plus for both Pritchard and the team.