WALTHAM — During the Las Vegas summer league, Celtics coaches encouraged rookie Terry Rozier to take a game off and rest. But he declined because he is a competitor and felt he had plenty to prove in a small amount of time. After Rozier returned to Boston, though, knee tendinitis that had bothered him at Louisville flared up.
In the days before the Celtics began training camp last month, coach Brad Stevens encouraged Rozier to stay off his feet. But that was too tough for Rozier, too, so he went to the team’s training facility by himself and worked out.
And then at the start of training camp, Rozier suffered a mild bone bruise on his knee. He didn’t tell the team’s medical staff, and then the leg swelled up during the Celtics’ game against Real Madrid last Thursday. Rozier underwent an MRI in Boston and had the knee drained, and he is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the week.
For Rozier, it is all part of his rookie education, as he learns what his body can handle and what he must relay to the Celtics’ training staff.
“Lesson learned: Just tell them right away,” Rozier said. “I can’t let that happen again. I’ve got to speak up.”
Rozier said the bone bruise is unrelated to the tendinitis that bothered him this summer. He said these minor setbacks have made him realize how important it will be to care of his body over a grueling 82-game season.
“In college, the whole two years I never sat out a practice or a game,” Rozier said. “So your body kind of wears down. But right now, this is different. At the pro level, you’ve got to know when to sit out.”
Stevens said it is important for the player to communicate how he is feeling to the team’s medical staff.
“We have to trust that these guys will tell us what their body is telling them,” Stevens said. “And our trainers are great. The strength group is great.
“I think there’s a great deal of trust. We’ve got to trust that our guys are going to tell us when they’re not feeling good, and they’ve got to trust that those guys are really good at their jobs, which they are.”
Jones rejoins team
Forward Perry Jones III returned to the team Monday after traveling to Dallas to attend a close cousin’s funeral. Jones left Europe by himself last Wednesday, the morning after the Celtics faced Olimpia Milano.
“I think from a mental standpoint it was a good thing I went, just to have my head prepared for what’s to come in the future and not dwell on what happened back home,” Jones said.
Stevens had encouraged Jones to return to Dallas for the funeral and told him to stay as long as he needed.
The Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts, and will need to trim that number by one before the regular season. Jones might be the player whose future is the most uncertain, but he is confident he will be able to make up for lost time in the coming days.
“I noticed a few things I have to catch up on, but that’ll be easy, especially with my teammates helping me and things like that,” Jones said. “Just go out there and work hard, and everything’s gonna take care of itself.”
Rest in the plan
Stevens plans to rest three or four players in Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets. He said it is partly because last week’s trip to Europe was draining, and partly because it is a good time of year to steal extra breaks. Stevens said he would mostly play the regular rotation in two of the three preseason games next week. “I just think, coming back from this trip, we’ve got to be more alert to that,” Stevens said. “And the goal is to be healthy and ready to roll [in the regular-season opener] on Oct. 28.” . . . Marcus Smart said he has taped up the fingers he dislocated during summer league simply as a precaution. “I haven’t really been feeling anything, but better safe than sorry.” . . . Jonas Jerebko returned to practice Monday after missing Sunday’s session because of a stomach virus.