Report from today’s practice:
Al Jefferson watched the end of Celtics’ practice today with his right foot and ankle soaking in a bucket of ice. He had hoped to return to team workouts today, but a sprained right ankle continues to sideline the second-year power forward. It is uncertain when Jefferson will return to the lineup. In comments after practice, coach Doc Rivers raised the possibility of Jefferson missing the rest of the season due to the injury. Understandably disappointed about his current status, Jefferson did not speak to reporters after practice.
“He’s just going to take his time and we’re just going to wait,” said Rivers. “I really would like to get him back before the season ends. I just think it would be nice to get him back on the floor, but if he’s not ready, he’s not ready.”
When asked if Jefferson’s absence from the lineup, which started last Wednesday, will most likely stretch into next week, Rivers added: “Or next season even. I don’t think so, honestly, but it could. It possibly could. It’s just sore and he’s not able to put a lot of pressure on it and run well. It’s affected the way he plays. When he gets closer, there’s a point where we have to decide can he play, can he manage the pain while he’s playing and can he be functional on the basketball court. For young guys, I don’t think it’s easy for them. They don’t know how to play without all their tools.”
When the team travels to New York this afternoon for tomorrow night’s game against the Knicks, Jefferson will remain behind in Boston going through workouts geared toward rehabilitation and conditioning. According to Rivers, one of the benefits of all the extra conditioning by Jefferson has been some weight loss. Rivers also noted that Jefferson has undergone recent tests on the ankle, including an MRI, and there is no further “structural damage” to the ankle and “he hasn’t hurt it more by playing.” But there is a still a bruise on the ankle resulting from the initial sprain suffered Feb. 3 against the Clippers.
“It is physical,” said Rivers. “It’s probably some mental as well. I’m sure it’s a little bit of both, but that’s with every injury.”