When Jae Crowder returned to the Celtics following his eight-game absence due to a high ankle sprain, there was a collective sigh of relief.
Crowder was going to return with enough time left in the regular season that he’d be back to himself by the time the playoffs came around.
Well, the playoffs have come around. Crowder? He hasn’t quite come around with them.
While Isaiah Thomas was the team’s MVP this season (and he’s certainly struggling himself), Crowder was right behind him in terms of importance. We saw that when he missed time due to the injury, and we’re seeing that now as he’s clearly still affected by it.
Crowder struggled mightily from the field in Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Hawks. He shot just 1-for-9 for two points, and failed to get to the free throw line once. He did still make his mark on the defensive end, finishing with seven rebounds, four steals, and two blocks, but the Celtics need offense in a bad way and Crowder hasn’t been able to help them out in that department.
The poor night from the field had him fielding questions from reporters after the game regarding the ankle, how it’s affecting him, and what he can do about it going forward.
“I do what I got to do,” Crowder told reporters. “I do whatever they tell me to do. My training staff is great, been great with me, trying to work with me getting back to 100-percent. I’ll talk to those guys tonight on the plane ride back and we’ll do what we have to do. But I’ll take time and take care of myself.”
Crowder had admitted previously that he’s not fully recovered from his sprain, but he’s as good as he’s going to be. The numbers, however, show that that isn’t very good.
Since his return from the injury, he’s averaging 11.7 points per game on 34.3-percent from the field. That percentage dips down to 22.5-percent from three-point territory (Crowder didn’t even attempt a three-pointer Tuesday night). He’s also a minus-3.4 on the court, which means teams are outscoring the C’s with him out there. Crowder averaged 14.2 points on 44.2-percent shooting and 33.6-percent from three-point range in the regular season.
“I’ll look at film and see what I’m doing but I don’t feel right and we’ll go back to ground zero and check it out,” Crowder said.
One more thing Crowder isn’t doing due to the injury is making excuses.
“I’m suiting up every night,” Crowder said. “I’m able to play. So I have to do my job and tonight I didn’t.”
For the Celtics to have a prayer in this series, they’ll need Crowder to turn things around on Friday.