Brad Stevens spoke with the media today at the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation Golf Tournament. Among the topics he covered was the health of some banged up Celtics. Stevens said that Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart are all recovered from various maladies suffered at the FIBA World Cup and should be ready to go for training camp. Stevens also indicated that rookies Romeo Langford and Tacko Fall are ready to go for the start of camp next week.
Walker missed Team USA’s last game with neck soreness. Marcus Smart missed the final two contests with a sore knuckle on his left hand, as well as soreness in his left quad.
Tatum was only able to play in two of the World Cup games, after he rolled his left ankle in the closing moments of Team USA’s comeback win over Turkey.
As for Langford, he had been out since being drafted by the Celtics and missed the entirety of Las Vegas Summer League. Langford has been rehabbing after surgery on his right thumb. Langford tore ligaments in his thumb during his freshman season at Indiana University, but chose to delay surgery and played through the injury. Many have speculated that this was part of Langford shooting just 27.2% from behind the arc during his lone season in college. He was reportedly cleared sometime in the last month and ready to practice without restrictions when camp opens.
Fall recently tweaked one of his knees in an offseason workout. The injury was mild and after a week out of action, the 7’6’’ big man is back to work for Boston.
Unlike last season, when Celtics fans were monitoring daily progress of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving in their returns from injuries, this training camp seems set to open without any significant health concerns. Stevens may manage the workload for his veteran players, as is common practice throughout camp. Boston will open camp on Tuesday, 10/1, following Media Day on Monday, 9/30. The Celtics will have five full days of practice before their first preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, 10/6.
Considering Boston also had a league-high six players take part in the World Cup, Stevens may monitor the workload for those players as well. Walker, Tatum, Smart and Jaylen Brown were a part of Team USA, while Vincent Poirier and Daniel Theis played for France and Germany respectively. Given those players have been at it with their national teams since mid-July, don’t expect them to carry a heavy load at least early on.
Boston will play just four preseason contests once again, as they continue a recent tradition of emphasizing practice time over game time in the preseason. Stevens will be looking to put together a lineup that could include as many as four new regular starters, with Tatum being the lone holdover from last season. In addition, the Celtics will be working several rookies into the mix, including Langford, Grant Williams and Carsen Edwards. And, finally, Boston will decide which of the non-guaranteed players are a fit for the roster via the one open standard spot, as well as the Two-Way spots that are currently held by Tremont Waters and Max Strus.