BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are holding out some hope that Tristan Thompson will be in the lineup when the team tips off their 2020-21 season Wednesday night.
A hamstring injury has kept Thompson out of action for much of Boston’s training camp, casting some doubt on his opening night status. But Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that Thompson looked good as he went through Boston’s practice on Tuesday, leaving the door open that Thompson could play against the Bucks on Wednesday.
“He didn’t do anything live, but he looked fine,” said Stevens. “I don’t know what the plan of attack will be with him yet for [Wednesday]. I think that he and the training staff will get together and figure that out from there.
“You and I may know at the same time,” Stevens joked about Thompson’s game-day availability against Milwaukee. “We’re hopeful that he’ll play, but that is still to be determined.”
Thompson hasn’t played in nine months, with his last game back on March 8 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs were not part of the NBA’s bubble season, so Thompson has had a lot more time off than other Boston players. He’s eager to get back on the court in some game action, but is going to play it smart.
“For me, I’m the type of guy that’s going to punch in the clock and do whatever needs to be done, and then when they say I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go. I think the key for everyone is just making sure that we don’t rush this,” Thompson said after making his return to practice on Saturday. “We don’t want anything lingering or lagging because, myself and my teammates, we’re trying to play in late June, July. So we want everyone to be healthy throughout the year.”
The Celtics agree with Thompson’s assessment that the summer months are a lot more important than December and January. Whenever Thompson does make his Boston debut, he’ll be on a minuets restriction, the team announced Monday. But the fact that the veteran big man has now participating in three straight practices bodes well for his status on Wednesday.
Stevens’ update wasn’t as promising on the Kemba Walker front. The Boston point guard, sidelined to open the season with lingering knee issues, did some one-on-one work with coaches on Tuesday, but not much else.
“No up and down, no cutting, no anyone else on the basket,” said Stevens. “He’s still a long way away.”