ORLANDO — As expected, the Celtics will hold James Young out of the Orlando Summer Pro League, delaying the highly anticipated debut of one of the club’s potential cornerstones.
Young was involved in a car accident last month, sustaining an injured neck that forced him to miss his final five predraft workouts. The Celtics interviewed Young in Boston without working out the former University of Kentucky standout.
While Young continues to improve, the neck injury has lingered, and he still has not participated in a full practice. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge decided to shut Young down for the week.
“He’s still got symptoms from the car accident,” Ainge said. “And he doesn’t have enough time to learn the stuff, get himself in shape. He hasn’t played for 3½, four weeks so we’re going to not rush it.”
Young has been dressing for practice but watching from the sidelines, participating in light non-contact drills. It became apparent when he did not practice Sunday that he likely would miss the week. The Celtics play three more games before breaking up camp. Young’s next opportunity to make an impression would be in October at training camp.
“He’ll be fine in a couple of weeks, maybe a week,” Ainge said. “We were hoping he would be able to play this week, but he’s just not ready and we’re not rushing him.”
Asked if he was disappointed that Young would miss this learning period, Ainge said, “Not too much. It’s always nice to get a chance to play so soon after they’re drafted. But in the whole scheme of things it’s not critical. We’ll have all summer to teach him, spend time with him, and get him ready for training camp. We know he can shoot and we know he’s a good basketball player.”
Ainge said Young has some “concussion-like” symptoms and dizziness. Young expressed frustration to coach Brad Stevens about being held out, but “we’re not messing with that stuff,” Ainge said.
The Celtics raced to a 30-12 lead in Monday’s game against the Pacers, led by 10 with 4:48 left in the second period, and then completely collapsed in a 96-77 loss. Indiana went on a 65-21 run, scoring at will in stretches while the Celtics had trouble simply making layups.
Marcus Smart, who began with 4 points in the first four minutes, finished with 11 on 3-for-15 shooting with 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal. Kelly Olynyk finished with a team-high 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
The loss did not bother summer league coach Jay Larranaga as much as how it occurred. The Celtics looked frustrated, out of energy, and passive.
In one fourth-quarter sequence, Smart jawed with Indiana’s Dee Bost and Smart responded by hitting a 3-pointer moments later. But it was a demoralizing performance for the Celtics.
“You never saw a response from our guys,” Larranaga said. “That response has to happen at the defensive end of the court. We were late on everything all night. We fouled way too much. It makes the game very, very difficult. It’s frustrating playing like that. It’s no fun losing. We got out-competed.”
The Celtics have Tuesday off and return Wednesday against the Pistons.
Less of a target
The Celtics are scaling back their pursuit of free agent Kris Humphries, according to an NBA source. Humphries, who played well for the Celtics last season after being acquired from the Nets in the Paul Pierce deal, earned $12 million in the final year of his contract. The Celtics can sign Humphries for an above-market-value salary because they own his Larry Bird rights, but the club appears to have its focus on other players . . . A league source said the Celtics are expected to fully guarantee the second year of guard Phil Pressey’s contract. The Celtics have until July 15 to guarantee the deal or waive Pressey.
Two days after scoring 17 points in his summer league debut, forward Mike Moser (Oregon) came back with 11 on 3-for-9 shooting with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal in the Celtics’ loss. Moser has been the biggest surprise early in summer league . . . Colton Iverson struggled against the Indiana big men and committed five fouls in 12 minutes, registering 1 point and 3 rebounds. He is vying for a training camp invitation.