ORLANDO — It seems more and more unlikely that Celtics fans will get to see rookie James Young in action before training camp.
He attended the team’s practice Sunday at Edgewater High School, but only dribbled and watched from the sidelines as his teammates were receiving instructions from assistant coach Jay Larranaga. The Celtics play their next summer league game Monday against the Indiana Pacers, and coach Brad Stevens said Young won’t play because of the strained neck sustained in a pre-draft car accident.
There is a great deal of intrigue about Young, the 17th overall pick in last month’s draft, because of his brief career at Kentucky and the fact he never worked out for the Celtics because of the accident. He has gone through some light workouts but has yet to play five-on-five.
The more cautious route may be to hold him out of this week’s games.
“I think that decision, from what I’ve been told, will be made more [Monday] or Tuesday,” Stevens said. “I talked to him [Sunday] in the hotel and he’s frustrated because he wants to play. But you know, obviously it’s something we have to be smart about.”
Boston plays Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and finishes the summer league Friday with a playoff game.
Stevens said injured center Vitor Faverani (left meniscus surgery) returned to Boston to be examined last month and is expected to be cleared for basketball activity in the next few weeks. Faverani played in 37 games as a rookie, averaging 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds before being sent to the NBA D-League, where he sustained the injury.
Meanwhile, swingman Gerald Wallace, who underwent surgery to repair a torn left meniscus and remove bone spurs from his left ankle in March, also returned to Boston for examination and is expected to resume basketball activities in early August, according to Stevens.
Wallace played various roles for Stevens but missed the final 23 games after an MRI revealed the tear.
Soft in the middle
The Celtics were bullied on the boards, 51-36, by Miami Saturday, a testament to their smallish roster that includes one legitimate center: 7-footer Colton Iverson, who was still smaller than three Miami bigs. The Celtics remain in the hunt for a rim protector, but the pickings are thinning and the club doesn’t have much financial flexibility.
That means the club may have to work with Faverani, Joel Anthony, and perhaps Iverson next season. The Celtics are interested in bringing back Kris Humphries, but the burly rebounder is in high demand.
“I think that’s something that we talked about and we have to figure out how best to man that spot,” Stevens said. “Hopefully you can develop these guys to protect that as well as they can. They don’t have to be shot-blockers. They can be charge-takers or you just play different. Those are the two options if you don’t have somebody you deem to be a great rim protector that you can play for a large majority of the game.”
After his 10-point, 5-steal, 5-rebound performance Saturday, Marcus Smart drew rave reviews from Stevens, who was thoroughly impressed with the No. 6 overall pick’s debut. Smart missed 6 of 8 shots but appeared locked in defensively, impressing his coaches with activity and tenaciousness.
“It’s funny, I told the staff, ‘I can’t imagine being any more happy with a guy who’s picked in the top 10 who shot 2 for 8 in his first game,’ ” Stevens said. “He did everything defensively. He guarded multiple positions. He was so active on the ball. I thought he made good passes and his passing will get better.”
Stevens watched film with Smart on Saturday night, reviewing each one of his 10 shot attempts.
“I feel like he’s really going to continue to improve in that regard,” Stevens said. “I’m really not concerned about it.”