WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kelly Olynyk said he’s set to return to the Celtics tonight when they face the Washington Wizards. Hopefully he’s bringing the team’s defense with him.
Olynyk isn’t always the most loquacious player when talking to the media, and when asked if he was playing tonight while tying his sneakers, he glanced up and retorted, “That’s the plan.”
Pressed on whether anything could interfere with those expectations, he joked, “if Coach Stevens doesn’t put me in the game.”
For his part, Stevens told reporters that he didn’t have any updates on Olynyk before the team took the floor for shootaround at the new John Thompson Jr. Athletic Center on the campus of Georgetown University.
“I have not talked to him (yet,)” Stevens said. “I’ll talk to him after we’re done here. But if he told you that, that’s good.”
Olynyk’s right shoulder was partially separated last season on February 10 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, and recurring subluxations of the joint eventually forced him to go under the knife last spring. Assuming nothing changes this afternoon, his return will be a nice boost for a Celtics team already playing without Al Horford (concussion protocol) and Jae Crowder (left ankle sprain).
Neither Horford nor Crowder made the trip to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. How much Olynyk will bring to the table in his first game since April remains to be seen.
Much was made on Sunday of Stevens saying that the squad played like a “finesse team” after their blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets. Wednesday, Stevens was re-emphasizing the point he made to the media on Sunday: players need to be in the right spots if their defense is going to work.
When asked, Isaiah Thomas touched on the need for players to “trust each other on the defensive end again,” but the details of how that will happen were going to be sorted out without the media. Rather than focusing on basketball, reporters were peppering Stevens and the players with questions about the Presidential Election. There was little, if any, basketball talk with the media before they got to work at shootaround.
Perhaps that’s appropriate. Between a historic election and the team’s Tuesday trip to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Celtics had understandably put basketball aside for a day. But when the media left, the questions were over and the doors around them closed, it was business as usual, just eight hours before taking the floor at the Verizon Center.