BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Toucher & Rich on Thursday morning, as he and the C’s gear up for the 2016-17 season.
With the new season less than a week away, the team is already dealing with an injury concern with guard Marcus Smart, who left Wednesday’s preseason finale after rolling his ankle. Ainge said there is no timetable for Smart’s return, but the team will be careful in bringing him back.READ MORE: Boston City Workers Given Additional Week To Show Proof Of COVID Vaccination
“We don’t know enough to determine whether he’ll be ready for opening night or how long he’ll be out. We’ll be very careful with him, but over the next few days we’ll have a little better indication,” said Ainge. “It didn’t seem to be a terrible one, but he was in some pain so it’s a little concerning.”
The news is not as good on forward/center Kelly Olynyk, who has been dealing with a bad shoulder since last February.
“I think, optimistically, we’re looking at the middle of November for his return,” Ainge said of Olynyk.
As for Boston’s 5-2 showing in the preseason and training camp, Ainge said he was most impressed by second-year guard Terry Rozier, who will replace the departed Evan Turner in the Boston rotation. His job will get even bigger over the first few weeks of the season with Smart’s injury.READ MORE: Police Shooting Reported Outside Burlington Apartment Building
“The biggest surprise of training camp was Terry Rozier. He’s been very, very good,” said Ainge. “We knew that Isaiah [Thomas], Avery [Bradley], [Al] Horford, [Jae] Crowder, [Jonas] Jerebko and [Tyler] Zeller would bring, but I think Terry has really stepped up… Terry was the guy we needed to be good and he worked really hard this summer. He had an outstanding training camp.”
It’s no secret that Ainge loves to eat at Chipotle, feasting at the establishment multiple times a week. That drew some criticism from assistant GM Mike Zarren in a recent article, but it helped Ainge land a card from the restaurant that gets him free food whenever he wants.
“I get free lunch every day. What happened was Mike Zarren was taking shots at me in an article, about how we as a staff always have to go to Chipolte. They contacted me and they gave me a card,” explained Ainge, who said the staff wasn’t sure what the card was at first. “The first couple of times they were confused, but now they’re my best friends.”
Ainge didn’t want to discuss any future numbers the Celtics may retire, and couldn’t say much about plans to honor Paul Pierce after he retires following this season. But he did say that Pierce’s wish to retire a Celtic would be met one way or another.
“I’m not allowed to talk since he’s still playing and it’s better that I stay away from that. We love Paul and consider him a life-long Celtic,” he said. “I’m sure things will work out the way he’d like them to, at some point.”MORE NEWS: Keller @ Large: Candidate For Governor Danielle Allen Says Mass. Needs 'Exit Ramp' For Use Of Masks