Celtics

Aron Baynes '50-50' to return to Celtics lineup from hamstring injury on Saturday

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Aron Baynes '50-50' to return to Celtics lineup from hamstring injury on Saturday

OKLAHOMA CITY — Boston Celtics big man Aron Baynes accompanied the team on its two-game road trip and could return to action as early as Saturday’s visit to Detroit.

Baynes, who strained his hamstring last Saturday in New York, has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game in Oklahoma City but coach Brad Stevens said Baynes play against the Pistons.

“Hopeful [to play] but nothing determined. I think at best he’s 50/50 right now,” Stevens said Thursday at Boston’s morning shootaround.

Told that Baynes is eager to play now, Stevens added, "Baynes is? Shocking. Baynes wants to play all the time. He still tries to race people off the bus after a hamstring injury. But you love that part about him. He’s a competitive guy, he’s a fun guy. It kills him to not be able to play.”

Stevens said Baynes would likely be on a minutes restriction upon his return.

In the immediate aftermath of the strain, Stevens expressed fear that a hamstring injury could sideline Baynes for a bit. Baynes missed Monday’s loss to the Orlando Magic but Stevens expressed relief that the injury won’t sideline Baynes very long but said the team will still tread cautiously.

“Basketball is not a game where you can really script the directions you’re cutting and where you’re running and how hard you can go and everything else,” said Stevens. "It’s a lot of random movement, and being able to change direction quickly without thinking twice about its impact on him is really important. So I think that hamstring is something we’re going to be very careful with.”

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Jae Crowder found his ultimate superfan ahead of Celtics vs. Jazz

Jae Crowder found his ultimate superfan ahead of Celtics vs. Jazz

Jae Crowder probably expected to receive some warm welcomes Saturday night in Boston. But one fan took his support of the Utah Jazz forward to a whole new level.

Crowder was minding his own business warming up for Utah's game against the Celtics at TD Garden -- his first in Boston as a member of the Jazz -- when he drew some attention from a fan with a very specific getup.

Who knew there were Jae Crowder impersonators out there?

The superfan's persistence paid off, as he earned a photo op and a high five from Crowder after the forward finished his shootaround.

We have to give props to this guy, who really went all out to imitate Crowder's look (and showed up an hour early to watch him shoot around).

This isn't Crowder's first trip back to the Garden since the Celtics traded him in Aug. 2017 -- he visited with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season -- but Saturday still should be a special game for the 28-year-old, who became a fan favorite during his three seasons with the C's.

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Brad Stevens: No more minutes restriction for Gordon Hayward

Brad Stevens: No more minutes restriction for Gordon Hayward

BOSTON – There may be games in the future when Gordon Hayward logs just 25 or so minutes of court time, but it won’t have anything to do with team-imposed limitations anymore.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Hayward, coming off a season-high 39 minutes of court time in Boston’s 123-116 overtime win against Toronto on Friday night, is no longer on a minutes restriction.

Stevens said the lifting of the minutes came after Hayward played in back-to-back games for the first time this season at Phoenix and Utah.

In the three games since then, Hayward has averaged 33 minutes per game while scoring 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

Following Friday’s win, Hayward said he was surprised that Stevens kept in in the game for the entire five-minute overtime period after he had already logged more than 30 minutes on the floor.

“I wasn’t even thinking about it,” Stevens said. “I was told he was not on a minutes restriction. So, I played who I thought gave us the best chance of winning on that given night. I didn’t realize he had gotten to 39 minutes. With an overtime game, everybody got up there in minutes. I didn’t even think about it, because I was told I don’t need to think about it anymore.”

Stevens added, “Now he’s going to have games where he plays 25 (minutes) again. But at the end of the day, not restrictive which is good. The whole idea of a minutes restriction is to get yourself back to the point where you physically can handle the demands of this season and do so without taking steps back.”

For the season, Hayward is averaging 10.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He missed all but the first five minutes of last season after suffering a left ankle/leg injury in the season opener. 

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE