A day after getting thumped by the Nets in their final preseason game, the Celtics received some much-needed positive news.
Center Tristan Thompson practiced with the team Saturday after missing both preseason games due to a quad injury.
“He did a lot of practice today and you could tell our energy went to a different level,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters of Thompson’s impact at practice. “In large part because he brings a physicality that we really need. I thought he added to the play today and the competitiveness.”
Thompson, who signed a two-year deal with the Celtics in November, injured his hamstring in a private workout prior to the start of training camp. Whether Thompson will play in Wednesday’s season-opener against the Bucks is a question that’s yet to be answered, but Saturday’s update is an improvement from where he was last week. While the start of the season is only days away, Thompson doesn’t want to rush his return.
“That’s a training staff question. When they say I’m ready to go, I’m ready,” Thompson said when asked when he’ll be cleared to play.
“We’re trying to play late June, July. We want everyone to be healthy,” Thompson added.
Thompson said he was “pissed off” by how the Celtics started Friday’s game against the Nets. He’s hoping to bring a strong veteran presence to a Celtics team that’s led by a pair of young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
“We’ve got these talented young stars on our team,” Thompson said. “… The wisdom I’ve learned from my past experience, to help give it to these guys whether it’s the good, bad, or the ugly. At the end of the day, I want to help this team by the best we can be. I feel like my voice and what I’ve been through and what I see is going to challenge them. If I can light a fire under their ass to get them going and try to make everyone just one percent better, then I’ve done my job.”
Second-year forward Grant Williams is one of those young players that’s excited to have Thompson, who won a title in his nine years in Cleveland, back on the court.
“It’s great to have him as a vet, it’s great to have him as a leader, and it’s going to be great to have him back on the court,” Williams told reporters Saturday.
Get Boston.com's browser alerts:
Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.