Romeo Langford is yet to play this season for the Boston Celtics, and he remains out on Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks as he ramps back up after clearing COVID-19 protocols.
As the Celtics were playing in the Disney World bubble last year, Langford underwent surgery on his wrist to repair a torn ligament. It was the second torn ligament he dealt with over the course of the 2019-20 season — he missed the Celtics’ Summer League due to thumb surgery that ended his lone season at Indiana University.
But when Langford was cleared to return earlier this month, he was forced into health and safety protocols — the NBA’s designation for COVID-19. Langford entered protocols on March 10 before he was finally cleared last week.
Langford’s season debut still has to wait. The team announced he would miss Wednesday’s game due to “Post Health & Safety Protocol Reconditioning” — a new designation, but one that makes sense given how much time Langford missed and how long he was in COVID protocols.
“Rome’s just getting back, just getting his legs under him,” Brad Stevens said before the game. “He worked out the other day, and I walked back in the locker room after answering all your questions and asked him how he felt. He said his legs felt like jelly. Like he hadn’t done anything for the better part of two-plus weeks. You’re not allowed to. And so, he is still ramping up. Obviously, he won’t play tonight, and then we’ll see if he will be cleared for Friday or not, but we’re hopeful sooner rather than later.”
Langford was the 14th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He played in 32 games as a rookie and averaged 2.5 points but showed some flashes on both ends as a pick-and-roll ball handler and slasher, as well as a willing defender.
Marcus Smart expressed sympathy for Langford earlier this month when asked about the rookie’s string of bad luck from a health perspective.
“He’s been looking great,” Smart said. “He’s been putting the work in day in and day out. I know it sucks, it’s been six months since he played and been able to practice with us and things like that. That’s tough, especially when he’s the only one in the gym having to work by himself and seeing everybody else working together and doing things like that. He’s dedicated himself to the work and I think it’s going to show up out there.”
Jaylen Brown will be available for Wednesday’s game after sitting out on Monday.
“He’s sore,” Stevens said. “Nothing big, but obviously he’s had a lot of burden all year but, so he was sore all over this past weekend. He almost didn’t play the OKC game, and then we sat him on Monday. So he feels better after a day.”
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