By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Celtics are likely looking at an Opening Night against the Milwaukee Bucks without free agent addition Tristan Thompson in action, Celtics coach Brad Stevens confirmed Saturday.
Arriving to the Celtics on a two-year, $19 million deal but with a hamstring injury suffered during his offseason training, the Celtics are simply running out of time to get the 29-year-old center up to speed.
“He’s not been in any part of practice yet,” Stevens, whose team will play two preseason games before the Dec. 23 meeting with Milwaukee, said. “He’s done our pre-practice.”
That pre-practice has included Thompson working in two-on-two and three-on-three action, as well as simulated read work. Stevens described such work as “very light.”
It doesn’t help that Thompson has been out of game action longer than most, too, as his Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t invited to the Orlando bubble after entering the coronavirus pause at an East-worst 19-46 on the year.
“[Thompson] hasn’t played in a long time,” Stevens noted. “H didn’t play in the bubble, so there will be a ramp-up period for him whenever he is able to go live in practice. I’m assuming it won’t be just one of those situations where you’re available one day and you get a good practice in and you can play. I think it’ll be a little more than that.
“I don’t know what that means with regard to December 23rd. Every day that passes I’d say that becomes more unlikely.”
The Celtics would be best served to take their time with Thompson, too, as the team is slated to play almost every other day and seven sets of back-to-backs in the first half of their 2020-21 schedule.
Without Thompson available, the Celtics will roll with a heavy rotation of Daniel Theis and Robert Williams.