Friday's Off Day Arrives Just in Time for C's

NEWPORT, R.I. – We learned on Tuesday that the Celtics arrived at training camp in pretty good shape.

We learned on Thursday that no matter how good of shape they were in, it wasn’t good enough.

On the final day of camp in Newport, R.I., Brad Stevens was forced to abort his original practice plan due to player fatigue. In fact, the two referees whom he had hired for Thursday’s practice went virtually unused.

“I thought we were a little bit winded from the last two days, so I actually cut out two scrimmage segments that we had (scheduled),” Stevens said. “So we didn’t use the refs for very long.”

Stevens’ audible on Thursday wasn’t exactly surprising, nor was it discouraging. Boston’s head coach saw fatigue building on Wednesday and that’s why he had already ditched his previously-planned double-session on Thursday.

His players were aware of what was coming, too. They know that no matter how hard they work during the summer, hitting a wall during camp is inevitable.

“Nothing’s going to get you in shape like getting out here and playing basketball at this level,” said veteran guard Keith Bogans. “Until you get in this type of environment, you’re not going to feel [this fatigue].”

“There’s a reason why it’s called training camp,” quipped Jared Sullinger.

Sullinger also explained why it’s impossible to simulate training camp. In his eyes, banging against NBA bodies is the biggest adjustment between summer workouts and the regular season.

“There’s a big difference,” he said, “because you don’t have contact on you all the time and you’re not competing. You’re not guarding ball screens. You’re not doing anything that you’re doing five-on-five.”

The Celtics have now collided for three straight days and for more than 10 hours of practice time. Fatigue levels have been growing, and so have intrigue levels.

Boston’s players have been eyeing Friday since they reported for media day on Monday. Friday will serve as their first day off. They’ve been yearning for this, and now that it’s essentially here, the Celtics are smiling from ear to ear.

“I’m very tired,” said Courtney Lee. “A day off is well needed.”

“I can’t wait,” Keith Bogans said with a grin.

Bogans and his teammates are smiling because they know what an off day means. The players will get a chance to recharge their batteries, and they’ll do so through a myriad of methods.

“You’ve got to take care of your body, get off your feet, try to get a massage, try to get as many fluids in your body as possible,” explained Lee. “And you’ve got that cold tank to get everything back feeling good.”

That’s the ultimate goal, and that’s why Stevens had scheduled the off day on his calendar. He fully understands that competing against NBA players for several hours each day takes a toll. He wants to do everything he can to help his players stay fresh throughout the grueling NBA schedule.

“It’s hard to go four straight days, hard to go five straight days,” Stevens said. “That’s why a lot of teams in the league, when they have a back-to-back, the next day is off. You just don’t want to be overly taxing on the bodies.”

Rather than taxing their bodies on Friday, the Celtics will be treating them instead. Rest assured that although they were fatigued after Day 3, it’s all a part of the process.