Celtics

Ihedigbo: 'It's all about continuing to fight'

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Ihedigbo: 'It's all about continuing to fight'

FOXBORO -- Surprisingly, injured cornerback Devin McCourty returned to Patriots practice on Saturday, after missing the entire week with a shoulder injury that he suffered in Sunday night's win over the New York Jets.

The practice was a "sweats and shells" session, and while the media was only allowed to watch the opening minutes, it's unknown as to how much contact McCourty made.

If the reports are true that McCourty separated his shoulder on Sunday, it may be unrealistic to think that he'd be able to make a complete return this soon.

If he's not available for Monday night's game at Gillette Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs, then the Patriots know it's just another opportunity for someone else to step up and make a name for themselves.

"Like it's been all year, guys have to seize the opportunity," said Patriots safety James Ihedigbo on Saturday. "McCourty's a phenomenal player, and whatever the case is -- I can't speak for someone else -- but if he's up, if he's playing, he's going to be flying around and making plays. If a guy has to step up, then a guy has to step up. That's how it is in this league."

Regardless of how ready McCourty may or may not be, just seeing him back on the field so soon on Saturday, was motivating to the rest of the team, who may also be a little banged up.

"This time of year, it's all about continuing to fight," said Ihedigbo. "Everyone in the league is battling something this time of year. So you really look up to guys who can fight through certain injuries or whatever it may be, to be on the field playing. So definitely, you have to look up to those guys and say, 'You know what, I've got to pick it up even more, when a guy like that's battling.'"

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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