BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics head coach Brad Stevens caught up with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday to talk about the latest with the Celtics and their game against the Nuggets.
Kyrie Irving is probable to return for the C’s after missing Monday’s loss to the Bulls, but big man Al Horford will be out for a day of rest. Stevens explained that Wednesday has long been planned to be a night off for Horford, presumably to ensure he’s fresh for their upcoming stretch of three games in four nights.
“Al will not play [Wednesday], just because of where we are in our schedule and everything else,” said Stevens. “This was a day that we had targeted for Al for a while.”
Stevens was also asked about Gordon Hayward, who continues to recover from his serious injury in the season opener. There’s a chance that Hayward will eventually make his case to the coach and president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge to come back this season, but Stevens is not going to change his plan – which is to proceed as if Hayward will not be back.
“I haven’t even spent two seconds on [Hayward’s possible return], because I think the biggest thing is that we have to continue to prepare with the team we’ve got that’s on the floor,” said Stevens. “I really thought from day one that [Hayward] is going to attack this rehab like he does everything else, and he’s gonna be as diligent as you can be and he’s gonna set those goals and he’s gonna try to achieve those goals.
“At the same time, my planning and preparation has been [to coach] without him for the whole year, so that’s the way we’re going about it and that’s the way we’ve always really thought about it. I think we don’t want to, obviously, put that kind of pressure on him either, because we want him to come back fully – when hes ready.”
Stevens also talked about the Celtics’ continued work on improving their rebounding, as well as how they use video to help younger players prepare for opponents. Listen above for the full interview!