BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Stevens probably figured his rookie season with the Boston Celtics wouldn’t be an easy start to his NBA coaching career.
Nobody could have expected a challenge like this though.
In the midst of dealing with the aftershocks of Rajon Rondo skipping out on traveling with the team to Sacramento to celebrate his birthday, Stevens was dealt a number of blows to his roster.
The injury report handed Stevens on Friday listed nearly half of the roster dealing with some sort of ailment.
Gerald Wallace was at the forefront of the list, as the team discovered in the past couple of days he had suffered a torn meniscus after Wallace underwent an MRI. He likely will be out for the season, as it is possible the veteran forward will undergo surgery on his knee and bone spurs in his ankle in the coming days.
Vitor Faverani continues to have swelling in his knee. He underwent a second opinion yesterday and he may undergo a small surgical procedure to try to uncover the root of the problem. He remains out indefinitely.
Avery Bradley is recovering from a recurring ankle injury and Stevens announced today he will be re-evaluated at the end of the week.
Kelly Olynyk suffered a sprained toe earlier this week and will not play Saturday against Indiana. The team is hopeful he will be able to return sometime this week.
Jared Sullinger is waiting to be cleared after suffering a concussion last Friday night in Los Angeles.
“He has to go through today’s practice,” Stevens explained, “He is cleared to practice in full. That’s the way things go now. Each progression you take, each step you take, you see how your body responds the next day. If everything goes well today, I would expect he plays tomorrow.”
With a roster so banged up, the Celtics are lacking resources to field a team with even 10 healthy players. Keith Bogans is still on two-month paid vacation and the team has shown no indication of bringing him back.
This morning, the Celtics made one move to fill the only remaining open spot on the roster by bringing back training camp favorite Chris Babb on a 10-day contract.
Babb, a 6-foot-5 guard, was playing for the Celtics’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, after being one of the Celtics’ final cuts in training camp. Babb performed well in Maine where he averaged 12.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.18 steals and 37.5 minutes in 33 games.
“Chris is a really tough guy. He makes shots. He does everything you would ever ask. He’s a very solid defender. He’s a guy you have to defend beyond the 3-point line. His familiarity with us and our familiarity with his character is a large reason why he’s here,” Stevens said.
Babb should be able to help, but Stevens is now looking at a bench that could consist of just Chris Johnson, Phil Pressey, Joel Anthony and Babb if Sullinger can’t suit up on Saturday night against the Pacers.
With no other roster spots open and the Celtics committed to staying under the NBA’s luxury tax threshold, there will be no other help arriving for Stevens for the rest of the season.
Right now, not even the best coach in the league could get this roster to win a significant number of games the rest of the way. Over the next two months, Stevens must do his best to keep this crew together both on and off the floor.
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