Celtics center Aron Baynes spent Thursday night in a hospital as he recovered from surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand, coach Brad Stevens said. Baynes was released Friday morning.
“The surgery went well, but I think it was a tough surgery,” Stevens said. “But he’s back home doing well.”
Baynes suffered the injury when he jammed his hand against Suns center DeAndre Ayton’s hand in the first quarter of Boston’s 111-103 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday. He is expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
“He wishes he was at shootaround and then at the game [Friday],” Stevens said before the Celtics’ 120-107 loss to the Bucks. “In typical Aron fashion, he wants to be around, but he’s going to have to take a few games to let that thing heal, and then we’ll see when he can get back on the court and start the rehab process.”
Missing in action
In addition to Baynes’s absence, the Celtics remained considerably shorthanded against the Bucks on Friday night. Forward Al Horford missed his seventh consecutive game due to a sore left knee, and forward Marcus Morris missed his second game in a row with a sore right knee.
Stevens said Horford has not had any setbacks. He extended his workout a bit earlier in the day.
“Just not there yet,” Stevens said.
Morris took part in a workout during the team’s shootaround and felt some lingering soreness, so he was held out.
Gordon Hayward and Semi Ojeleye entered the starting lineup in place of Morris and Horford.
.@semi is in the starting lineup tonight along with Irving, Tatum, Smart and Hayward pic.twitter.com/A2wTAwaHhg— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 22, 2018
Yabusele in play
Celtics forward Guerschon Yabusele returned after missing five games because of a sprained ankle. Initially, the Celtics feared that Yabusele had suffered a high ankle sprain, which would have sidelined him for a more extended period.
“Any time you’ve got a guy his size that sprains an ankle, you’re probably even more concerned about it,” Stevens said. “But he’s done a great job of getting back. He feels really good. They wouldn’t give him a green light if he wasn’t full go.”
Yabusele said he has been rehabbing his ankle extensively recently, from icing it to competing pool sessions to running on a treadmill. He took part in some 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 workouts this week. Yabusele understands that with Baynes out, and Horford’s return unclear, he could be called upon for important minutes.
“I know I’ve got to step up my game,” he said. “I’ve got to be more focused, more ready when I’m going to be on the court, and I’m just trying to help the team and try to win some games.”
Yabusele scored 5 points in five minutes.
The Celtics entered Friday night’s game with the easiest schedule in the NBA so far this season, with their opponents combining for a .472 winning percentage. But that will change quickly in the coming weeks. Boston will not face a team that started Friday with a winning percentage below .455 until it faces the Hawks on Jan. 19.
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.