BOSTON (CBS) – The Celtics roster may have a clean bill of health for the first time since the All-Star break in the near future as reserve forward Kelly Olynyk inches toward a return.
The seven-footer has missed Boston's past nine games after suffering a separated shoulder on February 10 in a win over the Clippers. He took part in his first full-contact practice in more than a month on Tuesday.
"Kelly did everything in practice," Brad Stevens said afterward Tuesday's practice. "He will probably do a little bit more with the young guys, [and] he'll re-evaluate [on Wednesday]. He's day-to-day. I just asked him how he was doing and he said he was a little bit tentative. He didn't play that way. He played 5-on-5 and did all of that stuff, and that was encouraging."
Olynyk was not quite as positive as his head coach about his play Tuesday, as he noted that he was still feeling some significant soreness in the area of the original injury.
"I don't feel like I can do what I do out there at a high level right now," Olynyk explained. "I mean, it's still sore. There's discomfort and pain, so obviously I'm a little tentative. I don't feel like I'm at full strength or at full motion."
Wednesday on Zolak and Bertrand, Stevens updated on Olynyk's progress. The coach said his forward is "unlikely" to play against Memphis in a nationally televised game.
With just two games over the next six days, there should be no rush by the Celtics training staff to return the third-year big man to the floor. Boston has held the fort down well without one of their top reserves in the past few weeks, putting together a 6-3 record while also extending their home winning streak to 13 games.
Still, Olynyk has been the team's top shooter (41.3 percent from downtown) and top scoring reserve (10.1 ppg) though, and the team missed his floor spacing considerably in Saturday's road setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the hosts wreaked havoc against Boston's second unit for most of the night.
Another complicating factor entering Wednesday's game could be the status of starting forward Jared Sullinger. The 24-year-old missed the past two days of practice with a skin infection that forced him to the hospital for treatment. He was released on Tuesday but his status for the rest of the week remains up in the air.
If Boston hopes to set a new TD Garden record with their 14th consecutive home win on Wednesday night, they will likely have the services of Sullinger to help contain a Memphis front line that features Zach Randolph.
Sullinger missed practice with a skin infection, Stevens said he should be able to play against the Grizzlies.
A final decision on the status of both Olynyk and Sullinger is expected just before game time.
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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