Celtics forward Jae Crowder said the team’s medical staff asked him to stay in the trainer’s room to receive extra treatment on his sprained left ankle during Sunday night’s game against the Nuggets.
“But I can’t,” Crowder said. “I’ve just got to go out there and sit on the bench. I’ve got to be there. I’ve got to just talk, be there with the guys.”
Crowder suffered the injury last Wednesday when he jumped to throw a pass and landed awkwardly on the foot of Bulls guard Rajon Rondo. Crowder fell to the ground in pain before hopping on his right foot to the locker room.
Crowder said he does not have a set return date, but he thinks he will be sidelined for another week or two. Crowder missed eight games last March because of a high ankle sprain.
He said that after suffering that injury he began wearing high-top shoes instead of low-tops, and he now heavily tapes his ankles before games. He said this injury is a less serious low ankle sprain.
“My ankles, it seems they’re getting weaker, but I’m trying to build them up as much as possible,” Crowder said. “Just trying to build everything around them. Build it up for the long haul this season.”
Before suffering the injury, Crowder was averaging 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
“Last year was a good learning process for me to go through an injury,” Crowder said. “I’m very encouraged now. My body is responding well. My teammates have done a great job of keeping my spirits high, so that always helps. I’m moving at a good pace and I’m very encouraged just to get back out there with the guys.”
Forward Kelly Olynyk is nearing his return from offseason shoulder surgery, but he did not play in Sunday’s loss. Coach Brad Stevens had said Saturday that there was a chance Olynyk would face the Nuggets.
“I gather it’s more how he’s feeling,” Stevens said. “I think he’s getting close. Certainly we want him to feel 110 percent. The target date in the back of our minds has been mid-November, and we’re not quite there yet.”
As expected, forward Al Horford missed his third consecutive game because of a concussion. Stevens was unsure whether Horford would face the Wizards on Wednesday night.
Nuggets coach Mike Malone coached Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas in 2013-14. Thomas had one of his finest statistical seasons that year, averaging 20.3 points and making a career-high 45.3 percent of his shots for Sacramento.
Malone said the key to unlocking Thomas’s skills was making him realize that he did not have to be a traditional point guard. He was a scorer, and Malone understood that.
“The reason I think we hit it off was I told him, ‘Forget that. Be you,’ ” Malone said. “Isaiah has been a scorer first and foremost his whole life, and that’s who he is. The one thing I think he’s done a better job of as the years go on is that he’s not just a scorer. He will make the right play. He’s become a better facilitator, a better playmaker. But that’s what happens. Guys get to the NBA and people ask them to be something they’ve never been. And people struggle with that.”
Malone and Thomas remain friends, and Malone said he was thrilled to see Thomas evolve into one of the league’s bright young stars.
“Couldn’t be happier for him and prouder of him,” Malone said, “because he truly is a gym rat and he loves the game of basketball, and he puts a lot into it. And that’s why he’s getting that much in return.”
Rookie Demetrius Jackson made his pro debut against the Nuggets. The former Notre Dame standout had 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 11 minutes . . . The Celtics are holding their annual Dunk Four Diabetes campaign this month. Every time a Celtic dunks during November, Sun Life will donate $1,000 to the Greater Boston YMCA’s diabetes prevention program. The Celtics Shamrock Foundation will match the donations up to $25,000, and each time a fan uses the hashtag #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes, an additional $1 will be donated by Sun Life.