By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Suffering from a sprained shoulder according to Celtics president Danny Ainge, Celtics guard Shane Larkin has not played since Game 4 of Boston’s second-round series win over the 76ers.
But with a massive layoff between Tuesday’s Game 2 in Boston and Game 3 in Cleveland (set for Saturday night), Larkin was among those that decided to get some work in during Thursday’s practice day in The Land.
“[Larkin]’s doing well. He ran up and down the court a couple of times today,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Thursday. “But any time that he would catch a ball or have to swing it to the next person, even in an offensive drill, it was uncomfortable. So he just stopped. But he is progressing well. What that means, he’s not anywhere close to playing.”
The update is a confirmation of what Ainge suspected would be the case, leaving the C’s without Larkin’s 3.7 points and 1.8 assists in his 14 minutes per game — as well as his 45.7 field goal percentage — this round.
With Larkin out, the C’s have rolled their Terry Rozier-Marcus Smart-Jaylen Brown backcourt trio at a relentless pace.
Of a possible 144 minutes with Larkin officially on the shelf (he was ruled out of Game 5 in Boston and has obviously missed the first two games of this series), Rozier has played 110:20, Brown has played 94:21, and Smart has played 88:51.
All three players have handled the uptick in action better than anybody could have imagined, with three straight victories, and with all three players playing vital roles in every single game over that stretch.
But it is a workload that’s forced Stevens to ease up on his top talents as they prepare for a pivotal Game 3.
“Almost everybody was in here getting treatment of some kind [on Wednesday], and then today we didn’t go live much, but we did go for an extended period and did some things that we need to do better defensively, did some things we need to do better offensively, some areas of focus,” Stevens said of his team’s current schedule between games. “We’ll lighten it up [Friday] as we get ready for Saturday. We’re going to need every bit of energy we have for Saturday night.”
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.