Rozier Recovering Quickly from Knee Injury

WALTHAM – Terry Rozier is a grinder.

He’s the type of basketball player who makes no excuses and is willing to play through pain to help his team succeed.

But there are times when it’s not worth the risk to play through discomfort. That’s one tidbit of knowledge that he left Madrid with last week, after playing through a knee injury during the Celtics’ exhibition against Real Madrid on Oct. 8.

Luckily for the rookie guard, the bone bruise on the back of his left knee appears to only be minor setback, as he expects to be back in action in three to five days.

“I’m feeling way better right now,” Rozier said prior to the team’s practice on Monday. “I did some bike riding today, finally did some stuff to get my knee moving.”

Rozier said he initially sustained the injury two or three days into their international trip while practicing with the team.

“I was trying to go for the ball in the paint and I kind of slipped. I didn’t say nothing till we were in Madrid when I saw it swelling up a little bit,” said Rozier. “I thought I could just get through it, but lesson learned from that.”

The injury certainly wasn’t apparent to those who tuned into Rozier’s excellent display during the team’s 111-96 win over Real Madrid. The 6-foot-1 guard tallied 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, four assists and two steals during just 16 minutes of play.

But the swelling was an issue following the game and coach Brad Stevens said the team decided it would take a closer look upon returning to Boston.

“When we had gotten off the plane the swelling had gone down – which is unheard of after an eight-hour flight – so we weren’t quite as concerned,” said Stevens. “But we still did an MRI and we got it drained. That’s the only reason he’s sitting the next three to five days. He probably could play in two or three, but we’re not going to push that right now.”

Stevens went on to note the importance of a player speaking up right when an injury is sustained.

“We have to trust that these guys will tell us what their bodies are telling them,” he said. “Our trainers are great, the strength group is great … They’ve gotta trust that those guys are really good at their jobs, which they are.”

Rozier said he had played through pain at times when he was at the University of Louisville, but now that he’s at the professional level he understands he has to be more careful.

“In college, the whole two years, I never sat out a practice or a game,” said Rozier. “Your body kind of wears down, but right now this is different; this is pro level and you’ve gotta know when to sit out.”

Fortunately, Rozier addressed his injury before it got any worse, and now he says he’s on the right track to a speedy recovery. He sat out of Monday’s practice, but was eager to use a stationary bike at the team’s training facility in Waltham.

“I’m on level 10 right now, so I’m feeling real good,” said the energetic rookie. “They want me to calm down a little bit, but I feel great. Probably the best I’ve felt since Madrid [when] it started swelling.”

That’s great news for a guy who agonizes over the thought of missing significant time on a basketball court.

With the abundance of talented guards in Boston’s rotation, it may be a challenge for Rozier to gain substantial playing time initially, but if he puts forth the effort and passion he displayed in Madrid and keeps that knee healthy, he could be excelling on the parquet floor before we know it.

Jones getting back in the swing of things

Perry Jones returned to practice on Monday, after spending the better part of the past week with his family, mourning the loss of a relative.

The 6-11 forward played nine minutes during the team’s first preseason game against EA7 Emporio Armani Milano. He left the team to return to the United States prior to their game against Real Madrid on Oct. 8.

The midsummer-acquisition understands that this is a critical week as he fights for a spot in the C’s rotation, but is ready to take on the challenge.

“[I] just have to come in mentally prepared to work hard,” said Jones. “I know there’s a few things I might have to catch up on, but that will be easy, especially with my teammates helping me. [If I] just go out there and work hard, everything will take care of itself.”


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