Romeo Langford Making the Most Out of his Road to Recovery
BOSTON – Two-and-a-half months removed from right wrist surgery, Romeo Langford still has a long way to go before returning to five-on-five action. However, the second-year Celtics wing, who had his hard cast removed Tuesday, is making the most out of his road to recovery, finding new ways to strengthen his game every day, even without the use of his shooting hand.
“I can basically work on anything I want, just not using my right hand,” Langford told the media during a Zoom call Wednesday afternoon. “I do cardio. I lift weights. My upper body is all left-hand oriented, but really just working on my legs, left-handed basketball workouts. Really I can do just about anything, I’m just not using my right hand when I’m doing those things.”
Not being able to use his dominant hand is obviously not ideal, but it also has its advantages, according to the Langford. The most notable benefit is how much attention he can place on improving his off-hand ability, which could lead to him developing a more versatile approach when he returns to the court.
“That’s one of the good things I can take from this injury, is improving my left hand, making it stronger and more natural,” Langford said. “I feel I have improved, and can feel my left hand becoming stronger, and I have more control of the ball doing different things – different layups, different passing with my left hand.”
Head coach Brad Stevens finds Langford’s optimism throughout the process to be reassuring. The mental side of the recovery process is half the battle, and his 20-year-old pupil seems to be in the right state of mind to get over each hurdle.
“I think one of the great challenges that he’ll do well with is maintaining the right mindset through all of the mundane work,” Stevens elaborated. “That’s one of the challenges, I think, with long rehabs is that guys get into a rut very easily. But he and (assistant coach) Joe Mazzulla work together; they have a great relationship. Joe does a great job keeping things fresh and that’ll be a great challenge over the next couple months as [Langford] goes through that. And once he’s ready, we’ll see where he fits in with the team we have.”
Langford is anxious to find out how he’ll fit into the rotation, as well. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t had many opportunities to fight for a consistent role due to the plethora of injuries he dealt with as a rookie, which limited him to just 32 regular-season appearances.
Stevens, however, pointed out how they have mostly been “freak injuries,” and doesn’t anticipate any past health issues to hinder Langford’s future in this league.
“I think Romeo is going to be an NBA player for a long time,” Stevens stated with confidence. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. He’s got a great feel. He’s got a great athleticism. He knows the game, he works at the game, he’s a very good worker. So, I think about it more in terms of he’s just missing half of his second season, or whatever it is, and I think that that’s hard when you already went through injuries as a rookie.
“You know, he pulled his hamstring a minute into the stint versus Miami (in the Eastern Conference Finals), so like, that’s frustrating. But as far as big-picture, long-term, I would venture to guess that he’s going to have a long career based off who he is, his work ethic, and his ability.”
Possessing a similar mindset, Langford hopes that is the last of his injury misfortune.
“Hopefully I’m getting these injuries out of the way right now, and not worry about it anymore when I get down the road in my career,” he said.
As for his road to recovery, Langford still has many steps ahead of him before he’s able to return to five-on-five basketball. In the meantime, he’ll keep finding new ways to improve his overall game so that he’ll be ready to carve out a role when he returns to full health.