BOSTON – Kelly Olynyk suffered a gruesome sprained ankle Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, and now it appears he won’t be returning to the court anytime soon.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters Friday night in Denver that the seven-footer will be out until at least the All-Star break with the right ankle sprain.READ MORE: Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine More Than 90% Effective In Kids
The second-year big man suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s win over the Blazers when he landed on the foot of Portland forward Thomas Robinson. He immediately left the game and headed to the locker room. Afterwards, he was seen leaving the arena on crutches, according to reports. He was sent home to Boston to undergo more tests on the ailment.
“I think it’s a sprained ankle,” Stevens told reporters in Portland. “The MRI will tell us more but he got it pretty good. It wasn’t just a twist.”
Unfortunately, the power forward is no stranger to ankle issues. Olynyk missed 10 games last season with a sprained right ankle suffered early in his rookie campaign. He returned in mid-December 2013, but struggled to return to full health until January. This injury appears to be similar.
The loss of Olynyk during the team’s six-game Western Conference road trip is a big blow to a struggling Celtics offense. The 23-year-old is one of Boston’s top scorers off the bench, averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds while appearing in all 40 Celtics games this season.READ MORE: Hopkinton High School First In State To Drop Mask Mandate
Without Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo in the lineup, Boston’s offense has trailed off considerably in January, averaging just 97.5 points per game, a sharp drop off from their mark over the first couple months of the season.
Olynyk’s versatile offensive game was one of the few weapons the Celtics had in helping them space the floor, but with him out of the picture, that will complicate Stevens’ playing rotation for the next few weeks.
The head coach will have to turn even more now to Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller for heavier minutes in the front court, but just how long the Celtics will keep Bass remains a legitimate question. The athletic forward is in the final year of his contract and is a strong candidate to be traded for future assets before next month’s trade deadline.
With the future of Bass in question, it’s probably that new addition Shavlik Randolph will get a look for a few minutes off the bench in the next few games. The team also has the option of going small with Jae Crowder at the four, but his size makes that unlikely as the Celtics face off with some formidable big men in their next stretch of opponents.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
With all of the roster movement with the team, Stevens’ job has been incredibly challenging for the past couple months. Olynyk’s latest injury will challenge his management of this roster yet again.