Celtics guard R.J. Hunter was held out of Saturday’s game against the Nets because of a left shoulder injury, but the rookie said it is an issue he deals with several times a year and his recovery is typically rapid. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Hunter was scheduled to be evaluated by team doctor Brian McKeon later in the day.
Hunter thinks he suffered the subluxation, or partial dislocation, while setting a screen in the fourth quarter of the Maine Red Claws’ D-League game on Thursday.
“I do it like two or three times a year, so I knew what it was,” Hunter said. “Unfortunate, but I needed those reps in D-League, so it’s all good.”
Hunter said he had similar shoulder injuries during his pre-draft workout in Charlotte and during the preseason, and he called it “a two-day thing.” The shoulder is simply sore, Hunter said, and just requires ice, rest, and electro-stimulation to recover.
Hunter said he thinks his wide shoulders and long arms make him susceptible to these partial dislocations. He said doctors have not indicated that the problem will ever require surgery, but he does think that building his strength can be an effective preventive measure.
“I saw a bunch of doctors before and at the draft workout,” Hunter said. “It’s just something that’s a strength issue right now, just trying to get it completely tight together. And I’ve made a lot of strides. This is probably the longest stretch I went without it happening. But it’s still not where I want it to be.”
Hunter had 28 points and 7 assists in the Red Claws’ 119-112 win over the Texas Legends on Thursday. It was his first D-League assignment of the season.
“I haven’t scored 28 since college,” he said. “You kind of need that mentally to keep your confidence going.”
Making it count
Rookie forward Jordan Mickey starred in the Red Claws’ win, too, registering a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks.
Mickey has been dominant in Maine this year, but the Celtics’ crowded frontcourt has made it difficult for him to find a spot on the roster. Mickey has played a total of just six minutes with Boston this season.
“I’m really curious [to see him], but we do have a logjam,” Stevens said. “That’s the reality of our situation. And to his credit he’s made the most of it by staying in a rhythm by playing up there, and I think he’s done a lot of good things. Some things that will really be able to translate, I think. And some things that he just needs to continue to improve upon. He’s closer to ready than ever before because of his continued work.”
Mickey is averaging 18.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.9 blocks for the Red Claws this year. Mickey and rookie guard Terry Rozier were scheduled to play in Maine’s game against Santa Cruz Saturday night.
“I’ve been saying since the summer that I thought Jordan was special,” Hunter said. “He just plays hard. He protected me on a few blow-bys [on Thursday], just beating it off the glass, running the floor. Jordan’s going to be special, man.”
One more time
After the Celtics lost to the visiting Nets, 100-97, on Saturday, the teams will conclude their four-game season series in Brooklyn on Monday.
It is the second time this season the teams have faced each other twice over a three-day stretch.
On Nov. 20, the Celtics surged to a 25-point win at home before stumbling to a 111-101 loss in New York two nights later.
“The last time we played them,” Stevens said, “we didn’t meet the challenge of the second night.”