BOSTON – Jaylen Brown is eyeing a potential return to the court for Thursday night’s NBA Finals rematch after missing the past week with right adductor tightness.
After going through a full practice with the Boston Celtics Wednesday morning, Brown told the media that he was “feeling good” and excited at the prospect of suiting up against the Golden State Warriors.
“We’ll see how I feel after this today, but I got a good workout in, good lift, got some live action going, got moving a little bit,” Brown said. "We’ll see if there's any soreness, but I think I'm alright, I think I’m good. So, I'll be looking forward to tomorrow.”
Brown sustained the injury during a season-high 41-point outing on Jan. 11 against the New Orleans Pelicans. He then missed the entirety of Boston's ensuing three-game road trip, but even without him, the C's swept still their competition with three double-digit victories, maintaining their East-best seven-game winning streak.
“During the game, I kind of felt it kind of flare up and, after the game, it was super sore,” Brown recollected of his big game against the Pelicans. “So I went and got an MRI, just to be kind of cautious, you know? And I guess it came up that there was a lot of fluid in there, like a Grade 1 strain or whatever, which I've experienced before in different places. So I just started the recovery process from there.”
Prior to the team’s Jan. 12 matchup in Brooklyn, interim head coach Joe Mazzulla estimated that Brown could be out “a week or so,” which made it seem like Brown could realistically return in time for the team’s most anticipated home game of the regular season.
With that being said, both Mazzulla and Brown made clear that in no way is the team rushing him back just so he can play on the big stage against the Warriors. Brown stressed that the most important thing is that he’s healthy for the bigger stage – the playoffs – but if he’s feeling good enough to suit up Thursday night, he will.
“I think that tomorrow it could be a big one for us to continue to keep things rolling,” Brown said. “Got seven in a row, you want to keep trending upwards, trying to create a little bit of separation from the rest of the East and the rest of the league. But, from the organization side, there's no incentive for them to get me back tomorrow. They want to make sure that I'm just healthy, overall, in general. But, if I can go, I'm going.”
Having Brown in the lineup would make a major difference against a Warriors team that beat his Celtics, 123-107, on Dec. 10 in San Francisco. Brown was one of Boston’s few bright spots in that game, recording team-high marks of 31 points and nine rebounds while shooting 10-of-14 from inside the 3-point arc.
Brown had also been in the midst of one of the hottest stretches of his career prior to the injury, scoring at least 29 points in eight of his last 10 games and averaging 30.0 points per game during that span. He'll look to pick up right where he left off Thursday night if he manages to find his way back on the court.