BOSTON – Jae Crowder is making “great strides” from his left knee sprain injury suffered last month and has begun to do some workout-related activities.
“He has been working out,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com.
Ainge added that he wasn’t sure of the full extent of those workouts which might include work in the swimming pool, riding a bike or some light shooting.
Crowder’s father, former NBA guard Corey Crowder, told CSNNE.com that his son has done some biking.
“I think he’s fine,” said his father who played two seasons (Utah 1991-1992; San Antonio 1994) in the NBA followed by more than a decade playing overseas.
The injury occurred in Game 4 of Boston’s 101-93 loss to Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs which ended with a four-game sweep by the Cavs.
Crowder was battling for a rebound when he was hit in the face by Cleveland guard J.R. Smith and fell backwards which led to him hyperextending his left knee.
Smith was suspended two games without pay for the incident.
But what really had Celtics Nation – and Crowder’s dad – upset was the forearm shot Jae Crowder took to the head from former Celtic Kendrick Perkins in the second quarter that came within seconds of Perkins entering the game.
Perkins came up to set a screen for LeBron James that caught Crowder squarely in the head, knocking him down briefly. He rose to his feet quickly and began charging towards Perkins with official Tony Brothers in between him and Perkins. Teammate Isaiah Thomas and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving stepped in to try and keep the peace between the two players, while Jared Sullinger had a hold of Crowder and was pulling him from behind towards the Celtics bench.
Corey Crowder loves to watch his son play live, but said it was actually good that he was not at Game 4.
“Let’s just say I don’t have a criminal record but I probably would have had one if I would have been at that game,” he said jokingly … I think.
Crowder added, “Don’t forget I played. I can tell you there’s no place in sports for that; not basketball. Basketball? Come on now!”
But the incident is a thing of the past now.
At this point the focus is on Jae Crowder continuing to progress from his left knee injury and be good to go for training camp in the fall.
Now where he’ll be for training camp remains to be seen.
Danny Ainge reiterated Boston’s desire to make Crowder a qualifying offer (worth $1.2 million) which would make him a restricted free agent beginning July 1.
On Tuesday, Ainge once again made it clear that the Celtics plan to re-sign Crowder to a multi-year deal this summer.
And prior to the injury, Jae Crowder indicated that his preference is to come back and play for the Celtics.
“I just think what I bring to the game and what they need … it’s a good fit,” Jae Crowder told CSNNE.com earlier. “Hopefully we can get something done that’ll keep me here for a long time.”
Acquired from Dallas as part of the Rajon Rondo trade in December, Crowder was the only player picked up in the deal who finished the season in Boston.
“You think about Jae Crowder in Dallas, and he was on his way to the D-League,” Corey Crowder said. “All of a sudden he gets to the Celtics, a young team that needed a guy like him to provide leadership, brought him back to the same feelings back to his days at Marquette when he was the leader. And then you add to that where you get confidence from management, from the coach (Brad Stevens) and from your teammates, you can go out and do your job and be effective.
Crowder added, “He was never going to be the leader in Dallas, not as long as you got guys older than him and they give those guys that status. For him to find a place like Boston to call home, it’s very big.”
There were a number of big plays made by Crowder last season, but few compared to the game-winning shot he hit on April 15 against Toronto.
Not only did the fade-away jumper with 0.8 seconds to play give Boston a 95-93 victory, but it also secured the 7th seed.
That play in many ways symbolized what Crowder’s time has been like in Boston as he made the most of his opportunity to make an impact.
It was a game-winning play drawn up for Crowder, something he had not experienced since his college days at Marquette.
“That shot would have never been drawn up for him in Dallas,” Corey Crowder said. “So for the coach to have that confidence, to draw up a play and put him in that position with the game on the line? It’s everything to being in a situation where they respect what you bring. That’s what he has in Boston.”