BOSTON (CBS) – As Boston Celtics fans have found out this season, Mickael Pietrus is extremely unpredictable.
His return to the floor Wednesday night is just the latest example.
After suffering a Grade 3 concussion last month in Philadelphia, Pietrus was not expected to return for the Celtics until the final days of the regular season. Then all of a sudden, Doc Rivers announced Pietrus was good to go in his pregame media session before the Celtics took on the Atlanta Hawks.
The Frenchman was only expected to play five to 10 minutes, enough to knock off the rust that goes with missing 10 games and nearly three weeks or normal activity. Instead, Pietrus played 29 minutes in the 88-86 overtime victory over the Hawks, chipping in eight points and six rebounds for the C’s.
“I felt great. I was just trying to bring that energy because I knew the guys traveled late,” Pietrus said after the game, talking about the Celtics arriving at 2:30am from Miami. “Obviously that’s what I did and I’m very happy that we could keep winning.”
Pietrus On Return, Banner 18
“He was great. It was funny, Danny [Ainge] called me and said they worked him out [on Tuesday] and said he was tired after two minutes yesterday. We went in thinking four or five minutes,” said Rivers. “Really, that game was to get him ready for the games coming up.”
“What’s amazing is he actually never looked over and said he was ever tired,” said Doc. “Maybe he’s been working out on the side and we never knew it.”
“It felt good to have Mickael back. He seemed energetic like the old Mickael, like nothing happened,” said Kevin Garnett. “He brought good energy not only to the locker room, but to the floor. It was good to see him.”
Without Ray Allen due to right ankle soreness, Pietrus’ presence was very much needed on Wednesday. He hussled down the floor, played solid defense and hit some big shots off a depleted Celtics bench. Early in the fourth quarter, with Boston clinging on to a one point lead, Rajon Rondo found Pietrus alone in the corner. He calmly drained the shot, and signaled to the crowd with three fingers.
The Celtics took a 72-68 lead, and it was clear, Mickael Pietrus was back.
“I feel extremely good. The concussion is behind me now,” he said. “I look forward right now to just get to a level where I can help my team in the playoffs. I’m very happy to be back.”
He is also very grateful for all the support he received over the last 19 days, not just from his team but the fans as well.
“Thanks for supporting me, for tweeting, and thanks to the Celtics organization,” said Pietrus. “They looked for me when I was down they came to my house to make sure I stayed positive. They took care of me from day one. When you play for a great organization, you always want to go out on the floor and give you best effort.”
Now that he is back on the floor, Pietrus has set his sights on the one and only goal: another banner to hang in the Garden.
“I just want to win. At the end of the day when I step on the floor I don’t worry about the concussion of any other injury…I’m just trying to get the 18th banner. That’s all I’ve had on my mind since I’ve been here,” he said. “That’s what I told Doc since he called and told me he wanted me on the team. I was like ‘let’s get the 18th banner.’ Right now, every time I step on the floor I’m thinking 18.”