BOSTON (CBS) -– The Celtics return to action on Friday night after a nine-day All-Star break respite, but they will do so without sharpshooting big man Kelly Olynyk.
The third-year forward suffered a right shoulder injury last Wednesday when Clippers' center DeAndre Jordan landed on Olynyk after biting on a pump fake.
Initially, Celtics' doctors expected Olynyk to be ready to play after missing a week's worth of action, but the soreness in the shoulder has lingered during the time off.
Olynyk traveled to Los Angeles for a second opinion on the injury and now believes he may miss up to four weeks so the ailment can fully heal.
"There's a little bit of separation in there," Olynyk told reporters in Utah. "Partial, something, whatever it's called. So it's just you get some rest and recovery, some treatment, some strengthening, and it should be alright."
That prognosis is a bit of shift from Thursday, when Danny Ainge told reporters he believed Olynyk would only be out a couple weeks.
"Right now it's still sore and bothering him, and we don't need any surgery or any long-term fears for him," Ainge said. "But right now it's a short-term ailment that will keep him on the sidelines for I'm guessing – this is just a guess – two weeks. I probably shouldn't say a word, but that's just what I think. We'll see though."
With Olynyk sidelined, Boston's offense is set to take a potential hit in the interim as it loses his top-20 shooting range from beyond the arc. More playing time will be spread around to Jonas Jerebko at the stretch-four and center Tyler Zeller in his absence, and Brad Stevens may also turn to rookie Jordan Mickey as well for additional depth down the bench.
"I think part of our strength should be when one guy goes down we can by committee cover up what he does or replace what he does," Stevens told reporters in Utah. "It doesn't mean that one guy is (going to) bring all of Kelly's skills to the table, but multiple guys can with their collective skill sets."
The test begins Friday for Boston as they start a three-game road trip in the Western Conference, where maintaining the team's recent hot stretch (13 wins in last 17 games) just got a little bit tougher.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.
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