By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
It’s been almost a week since the Boston Celtics played a basketball game. Since last Friday’s win over the Washington Wizards, the team has had three games postponed. Between positive COVID tests and the NBA’s health & safety procedures, the Celtics haven’t been able to put together an active roster of more than eight players, the required minimum for a game.
That all could change this Friday, when the Celtics are scheduled to host the Orlando Magic. Speaking with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge sounded optimistic.
“I think that our players are all doing well,” Ainge told T&R. “It looks like we’re going to be able to play a game tomorrow.” The game was originally supposed to be the second of a two-game set between the Celtics and Magic in Boston, before Wednesday’s meeting was postponed. At the time of that announcement on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski described the status of Friday’s game as “immediately unclear.”
There’s been no official update on the status of Friday’s game since. Ainge did acknowledge that there’s still a way to go before the Celtics return to the court. “We still have 17 more tests to do between now and then,” he noted. “We’ll have to find out what happens – each of these tests you’re on pins and needles.”
The Celtics will return to practice on Thursday, and will have a few more familiar faces in the building when they do. “We’re expecting to have Tristan [Thompson] and Grant [Williams] back today at practice,” Ainge told Toucher & Rich. He then added, “for the game tomorrow, we’re hoping to have more players than that back,” although he could not get into specific names.
While most of the Celtics will be returning from their COVID quarantines, one player is working his way back from an injury. Point guard Kemba Walker hasn’t played yet this season due to a nagging knee issue that carried over from last season’s bubble. On Thursday, Ainge was asked about how his timeline lines up with the team’s return to play.
“The challenge with Kemba is he really hasn’t played basketball,” Ainge said, before mentioning the return to practice will help speed up Walker’s progress. “With our inability to practice and do nothing but 1-on-0 workouts, it’s hard to get Kemba the reps he needs and the real basketball that he needs.”
The Celtics are currently scheduled to face the Magic on Friday, with tip-off at 7:30 p.m.. You can tune into 98.5 The Sports Hub for complete coverage, with the pregame show starting at 7:00.
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.