BOSTON – In the wake of the Jae Crowder ankle sprain, precaution is the word of the week with the Celtics. With Jae Crowder on track to return just in time for the playoffs, the Celtics are taking every to make sure they go into the first round at full strength.
So when Jonas Jerebko came out of last Tuesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers with a sore left ankle, team doctor Brian McKeon had Jerebko sit out the next three games.
"Just sore after the Indiana game and just for safety reasons, Doc [McKeon] told me to take some games off. Sucked, but I feel great today and I don't have any soreness at all so I'm ready to go."
Jerebko suffered a right Achilles tear in the preseason opener to the 2010-2011 season with the Detroit Pistons and missed the entire year.
When asked whether the injury was his ankle or his Achilles, Jerebko said the results were inconclusive.
"I think it's a mix. Achilles' been fine and the MRI showed nothing on either ankle or Achilles. So it was just soreness, little swollen, but today I feel fine, yesterday I felt fine, the whole weekend I've been feeling good and I got some shots up yesterday and worked out this morning, worked out nine, feel fine and ready to go."
Jerebko is good to go now, but the Achilles alarm bells were going off when he first noticed the soreness.
"You think about it," he said. "You think back of what I did but after the MRI and a couple days after I feel nothing so not worried at all."
Jerebko didn’t notice any specific play or contact that caused the soreness, but it was strong enough to make him go see the doctor.
"Stuff happens during the game. You can get kicked, stuff can swell up on you. I don't know what it was but after the game I was just really sore.
"I've had it with my other Achilles that did it so always when you feel something it's like 'Oh' so Doc just did an MRI on it, everything was fine but like I said take a couple games off and be ready for this playoff push."
Jerebko has a reputation for fighting to get back in the game. He missed his entire Sophomore season in Detroit, but he fought like hell to get back in time for the team’s playoff run.
"This kid – I've been in the business for 20 years – I've never seen a kid work so hard to try to get back," Pistons coach John Kuester said in 2011. "It's killing him. It's killing him. This young man is working extremely hard to put himself in a position to play."
Jerebko eventually worked himself back into the rotation with the Pistons, but was eventually traded to Boston last year in the Isaiah Thomas deal. With a fresh start in Boston, Jerebko has held down his spot as a stretch four in the second unit, featuring as the 9th man for most of the season.
Jerebko returns at a time of desperation for a Celtics team in a tailspin without Crowder. Jerebko doesn’t necessarily check off the boxes of elite wing defender and fast break juggernaut. But his ability to stretch the floor from the corners and wings will help plug up the biggest hole in the Celtics’ offense that was felt with Crowder’s absence.