BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics lost Gordon Hayward over the weekend, but are getting some front court depth back Monday night. Center Enes Kanter said he has “finally” been cleared to play against the Dallas Mavericks.
This will be just the second game of the season for Kanter, who suffered a left knee contusion in Boston’s opening night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Kanter saw the floor for 25 minutes in that game, scoring 12 points and pulling down six rebounds for the Celtics.
“They just wanted me to be 100 percent — not 95 percent,” he told reporters following Monday’s shootaround. “I think it was more about a confidence thing. When you come back from an injury and play five-on-five, you’re still thinking about it.”
Kanter said he played some one-on-one on Sunday and five-on-five a few days ago, and is feeling “pretty confident” that his knee is back to 100 percent.
“Let’s see what happens tonight,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get in game shape the last two weeks, so we’ll see how it feels tonight.”
He wasn’t sure of any restrictions heading into Monday night’s tilt with the Mavs, but did say the trainers mentioned a minutes limit. That likely means Kanter will come off the Boston bench on Monday, which was reportedly the plan for the center before the regular season tipped off. But with the Celtics starting the season against the 76ers and Joel Embiid, Kanter was put into the starting lineup to match up with the Philly big man.
As for his three-week absence, Kanter said it wasn’t too hard to sit and watch the team, because they won all seven of their games.
“It’s tough not being out there and part of this winning streak, but I’m happy for them,” he said of the 7-1 Celtics. “They’ve done an amazing job staying together, having fun and building chemistry. I’m glad to see them having fun out there.”