Zolak and Bertrand

BOSTON (CBS) — With less than two weeks left in the regular season, the Boston Celtics know they’re in must-win mode.

That all starts Friday night when the Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, making his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand, understands just how important the remaining seven games are for Boston.

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“We only have four teams left on our schedule, seven games, and all three teams we play twice are ahead of us [in the standings],” explained Stevens. “Milwaukee is at [the six seed in the Eastern Conference] and has been most of the year, Toronto is in the 3-4 range and Cleveland has been steady at two. We have each of those teams twice. We have our hands full and have to play great to win these games.”

Luckily for Boston, they received some good news on Friday afternoon. Big man Jared Sullinger, originally expected to be out the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, has been cleared to play.

“I think it’s great that he is fully healed, number one,” said Stevens. “He got out of the boot a couple of weeks ago, and has been X-rayed and MRI’d almost every other week, and the healing has been fantastic. He’s been on the court a little bit, doing some up-and-down and 1-on-1 work, but we haven’t had a chance to practice so he hasn’t engaged on 5-on-5 like he will in a game.

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“The way I’m looking at it this weekend, and I’ve talked to Jared about it, is he’s available,” continued Stevens. “He’ll probably play a limited role, especially this weekend, and we’ll see how he feels after this weekend and go from there.”

Celtics president Danny Ainge had some strong words about Sullinger just a few weeks ago, saying the big man was not where he should be in his conditioning. Stevens said he’s seen Sullinger work very hard over the last few months, and is happy he’ll be back on the floor.

“Change happens over the course of a long period of time, but from everything I’ve watched he’s working at a great level and is in much better condition than he’s been,” said Stevens. “I’ve read and seen some things where he’s been very accountable… Here is a guy who wants to be a part of this team and help this team. He came into my office yesterday and said he wanted to help in any way he can. That’s a great thing for a pretty accomplished young player to come in and say.”

Stevens also shares his thoughts on Isaiah Thomas’ recovery, and Kelly Olynyk’s swollen eye from Wednesday night:

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