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Joe Mazzulla explains how his meniscus injury helped him through Celtics' championship run

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck celebrates team's 18th NBA Championship
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck celebrates team's 18th NBA Championship 01:41

BOSTON -- Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was locked in and focused throughout Boston's run to an NBA title. He believes that a knee injury he suffered during the regular season helped him along the way.

Shortly after the Celtics were crowned NBA champions on Monday night, Mazzulla revealed that he would have to undergo surgery this offseason for a torn meniscus. He explained during an appearance on Pardon My Take on Wednesday that he suffered the injury while trying to blow off some steam after a loss in the regular season.

After the Celtics dropped a game to the Hawks in March -- part of back-to-back losses by Boston in Atlanta -- Mazzulla hit the gym to work out some of his frustrations. It was during a spirited and rigorous jiu-jitsu session that Mazzulla got hurt, though being Joe Mazzulla, he said it was a "great experience" for him. 

"That's what happens when you lose games in the regular season. After we lost to Atlanta, I went on the mats and punished myself and pounded my body until I couldn't take anymore, and ended up tearing up my knee," he explained. "It was a great experience for me, I had to do six hours of treatment to coach the next game without too much of a limp. I couldn't walk."

Mazzulla didn't miss any time with the injury, and added that it helped him focus during Boston's title run.

"It put me in this fight or flight mentality because I couldn't relax. I had to constantly train, get physical therapy, and it was just awesome. I was thinking about maybe getting hurt every All-Star break," Mazzulla joked. "It brought a different level of focus that I had to have. I had to walk slower, I couldn't move certain ways. So it forced me to focus more and I'm grateful that it happened. I miss the mats though."

Only Joe Mazzulla would find recovering from an injury to be an "awesome" experience. Pain builds character, and the Celtics head coach has plenty of that.

Mazzulla also explained his stone face in his photos with the Larry O'Brien trophy after Monday night's victory over the Mavericks. He was all smiles on the stage after Boston's win, but he wasn't showing much emotion in the official photos with the trophy.

That's because Mazzulla's mind was already onto the 2025 season -- and how far behind the Celtics are compared to their competition.

"I was pissed because I felt like all my teams got a head start on the next season. I had to get over that, but once I was able to get over it, I enjoyed it," he said. "That thing is heavy."

Mazzulla did admit that he will have some fun this offseason. He's planning on bringing his 7-year-old son to Disney World and is he and his wife will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. He'll also be making a trip to Paris for the Summer Olympics to watch some of the Celtics in action.

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