ESPN’s Marc Spears reported earlier today that Celtics’ forward Marcus Morris would spend time rehabbing from an early season knee injury with Boston’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Morris is yet to play with the team during the regular season, and competed in just one of the Celtics’ four preseason games.
Celtics forward Marcus Morris (sore right knee) was sent for assignment to G-League Maine today, a source said.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) October 30, 2017
Using the G-League as a post-injury proving ground isn’t a new concept in Boston. The team sent Rajon Rondo on a similar assignment in 2014, after having toyed with the possibility of doing so with Avery Bradley in 2012.
Such practice is common in professional baseball, where previously injured players frequently spend time in organizations’ minor league systems, tuning up before returning to action at the game’s highest level. The NBA has not embraced the G-League as a platform for reintegration after injury to the same degree, but that trend is beginning to shift.
The list of NBA players that teams have opted to send on rehab assignments is growing steadily, and includes San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, by far the most high-profile player to do so.
Morris’ own experience turned out to be exceptionally brief, as the Celtics opted to recall him from the Red Claws at the conclusion of a scrimmage at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham today.
It is unclear exactly how soon Morris will be playing NBA minutes, but the fact that he is ready for action, even just a scrimmage, is certainly a welcome sign. The Celtics have functioned effectively in his absence- thanks in large part to impressive starts to the year from Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum- but could still benefit from having another competent body available, particularly one that is capable of toggling between forward positions.
Boston did not need to clear a roster spot for Morris, but still opted to send Jabari Bird, one of the Celtics’ two-way players, to Maine. Bird has 39 days remaining on his 45 day NBA restriction.
Jabari Bird accrued 6 days of his 45-day allowance on his two-way contract, assuming today and yesterday did not count due to travel home. https://t.co/PGSkBj50tt— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) October 30, 2017