BOSTON - In a bit of a surprise on Sunday, Kelly Olynyk is active for Game 4 against the Hawks.
Olynyk, who has been dealing with a right shoulder injury, was limited in Game 1 and missed both Game 2 and Game 3 in the series.
But while Olynyk will dress for the game, it doesn't sound like he's going to be a major factor in it or assume his usual role in the rotation. Brad Stevens just found out at the team's walkthrough around 2:45 p.m. that Olynyk was available to play.
“We’ll play it by ear, see how the game is going and everything else and see what direction we decide to go,” Stevens said. “Certainly it’s great that he’s available, and there’s certainly a chance he plays for us.
"It's going to be up to me [if he plays] because he hasn't done anything in a few days as we walked through. Certainly I think that he could play minutes for us in the first half, could play some but he's not necessarily going to be in it for sure. So we'll wait and see. But he is available."
Olynyk had some tape over his shoulder for added support before Game 4, and will keep it that way during the game. He said the shoulder is feeling a lot better, and range of motion has improved. As far as its strength goes, that's improved in "certain motions", but not all.
"I haven't done a lot of contact," Olynyk said. "Done a little bit in the strength room, just some resistance, contact, hit a little so you know you can bounce off it a little. But there's a fine line obviously between over-fatiguing it, using it, because it fatigues quickly and [I'm] trying to rest it, so just make sure it's ready to go at 6 [pm]."
The Celtics have been effective going small, and Stevens said they will continue to do just that with Jonas Jerebko at the power forward spot to start the game. Jerebko played 37 minutes and finished a team-high plus-14 in Game 3. The thinking there is essentially don't mess with success.
But if nothing else, Olynyk could be put in for certain situations as a decoy in order to open up the court a bit. He said the injury isn't affecting his shot as much as it's affecting his rebounding and defense. Regardless of how Stevens ends up using him if he chooses to, the Hawks will be ready.
"He’s a skilled four/five guy who fits in their offensive system well with the [dribble hand-offs] and pick-and-rolls," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He spreads the floor with his shooting. We played him quite a bit during the regular season – obviously Game 1. Hopefully our guys understand what to do if and when he plays."