Celtics

Daniel Theis happy to be back on court as recovery continues

Daniel Theis happy to be back on court as recovery continues

BRIGHTON – For Daniel Theis, every day brings about a new adventure … and a new wrinkle to his recovery from a torn meniscus injury in March.

The 6-foot-9 forward is back in town, working his way towards one goal which is to be ready to participate in training camp with the Boston Celtics.

“I’m getting there,” Theis told NBC Sports Boston. “I’ve been back two weeks. I’ve been doing new stuff every day.”

Theis recently began doing full-court sprints.

On Wednesday, Theis said he had been working on changing direction and cutting at a higher speed.

“I’m just happy to be back on the basketball court,” Theis said. “I’ve been working out the whole summer, lifting in the weight room when I wasn’t back home.”

Theis added, “A little bit of running outside. Since I’m back (in Boston) … being on the basketball court doing basketball player stuff; it’s fun. I’m happy now.”

If you’re around Theis for more than five minutes, you’ll realize that he’s in a jovial mood most if not all of the time.

Which is why the torn meniscus injury he suffered was so difficult to deal with.

It did more than just sideline him for an extended period of time.

The injury took away the one joy – basketball – that has been a significant part of his life.

And to be on the bench, watching the team play on without him was a bittersweet time for the 26-year-old Theis.

“First of all, I learned how to be patient,” Theis said. “I wanted to go back on the court so fast. They told me to be patient, you can’t rush the process of healing. I learned that a lot. It was hard watching games on sideline or TV because I wanted to be there. At the end it was so much fun to see those guys, how they played. Every night they give 100 percent whole team, fans, the Celtics organization. Now, I just want to be a big part of this too. I want to be on the court and do the same they did last part of the season and hopefully I can be part of this.”

Theis said he is looking forward to doing some 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 5-on-5 work later this month and be ready to play once training camp starts.

“I’m still a little bit away,” Theis said. “Every day they put in new stuff. It’s the day after that’s important to see how my knee reacts. (Wednesday), with more speed. (Thursday) we’ll see how my knee reacts. For now, my knee never reacted bad. My main goal is to be ready for training camp.”

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Boston-bleeding Marcus Smart ready for whatever's next for Celtics

Boston-bleeding Marcus Smart ready for whatever's next for Celtics

BOSTON — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he won’t begrudge Kyrie Irving and Al Horford if they elect to depart this summer but he was staunch in suggesting that Boston remains a destination for championship-seeking players.

Smart, decked out in a Celtics-green cobra shirt and a black bandana, met with reporters Tuesday during a break in his annual youth camp on the campus of Brandeis University and went to bat for the city when asked about the notion that players might not want to come here.

"I think it kind of speaks for itself. We’ve got the Patriots, we’ve got the Bruins, we’ve got the Red Sox, we’ve got the Celtics. You name me another city that’s got four teams in different categories like that that’s all known for winning championships,” said Smart. "It gets no better than that. 

"I don’t know who is saying that, or why they’re saying it, who knows? But, for me, being here and experiencing it for myself, Boston is definitely a place you want to be, especially if you’re trying to compete for a championship.”

Smart said he’s talked with Irving since the end of the season but steered clear of basketball topics. He admitted Irving’s potential departure, and that of Horford, did catch him by surprise a bit, though he’s become numb to change during his time in the NBA. Smart is focused on what he can do to get Boston back on track after a maddening year.

"I see my role as bigger than ever now,” said Smart, who started alongside Irving much of last season but could slide into the first-unit point guard role depending on how Boston’s offseason plays out. "Just because, once again, being that longest-tenured Celtic, going into my sixth season and really understanding [coach] Brad [Stevens] and this organization, and the system that he likes to run, and just, that’s who I am. 

"And I’ve got to be that times 10 now, because we are going through some things. We did have a bad year. We’ve just got to keep everybody on the same track.”

Smart said he’s bullish on Boston’s outlook moving forward.

"I'm excited. We're excited. As competitors, you have a season like we did last year and it leaves a funny taste in your mouth,” said Smart. "We use that as our motivation and to keep going. We're very excited. Whatever team or whatever people or whoever is on the board or whoever is on this roster with us, we're excited to have them to go out there and fight.”

Smart praised Boston’s quartet of recent draftees, which included a pair of backup point guards in Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters. He said he’s unlikely to meddle in free agency, letting Danny Ainge and his staff handle that, but offered to make a pitch if needed.

Reflecting on last season, Smart hinted that the tensions reported in Boston’s locker room might not have been as catastrophic as suggested. Right after the season, Smart went to bat for Irving when it was suggested he caused much of Boston's issues this season.

"Even in the regular season, it wasn't a disconnect,” said Smart. "It was just a lot of people kind of got in and -- it was like a telephone game. You tell one person this and by the time it gets back to you, the whole narrative had changed. That's kind of how it goes. Like I said, you can only control what you can control. You focus on what you can focus on. As a player, you focus on getting into the gym, getting yourself better and you let the front office handle the front office stuff and you do what it is you need to do for the team."

Still, Smart sounds eager to wipe the slate clean and start a new season.

"Hey, the thing is, the Raptors just won the championship, right? But they’ve got to start back over from the beginning just like we do,” said Smart. "So we all start back over at the starting line, we all start at zero, and we all get a chance to do it. So everybody’s starting over, regardless if they have the same team or not, they’ve all got to start from the beginning. 

"That’s how we take it. We take it as we come in, and we have an opportunity to do something special, and we get another chance to do it.”

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NBA odds: This team is clear betting favorite to sign Kyrie Irving in free agency

NBA odds: This team is clear betting favorite to sign Kyrie Irving in free agency

Kyrie Irving is one of the best players who will enter NBA free agency at the end of June, and one team has emerged as the clear betting favorite to sign the Boston Celtics point guard.

The Nets, according to oddsmakers at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, are -400 favorites to land Irving. Only two other teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, made the list of odds.

A reunion with LeBron James would certainly be interesting. James and Irving played together on the Cleveland Cavaliers for three seasons and won a championship in 2016, but their time as teammates reportedly ended on a sour note as Irving ultimately asked for a trade before the 2017-18 campaign. James is now the face of the Los Angeles Lakers, who just agreed to acquire superstar center Anthony Davis in a reported trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers don't have the salary cap space to offer Irving a max contract right now, but they could open up more room over the next few weeks. L.A. also needs a starting point guard after trading away Lonzo Ball in the AD deal.

The Knicks were rumored to be the top landing spot for Irving throughout the second half of the 2018-19 season, but now it looks like their cross-town rival could snag two of the top free agents on the market. The Nets also are the betting favorites to sign Golden State Warriors superstar forward Kevin Durant.

Who knows what Irving will decide when it's time to make a final decision on his free agency, but it wouldn't be surprising, based on these odds and recent reports, to see him take his talents to a New York team this summer.

Report: Celtics emerging as 'stealth suitor' for Kemba Walker>>>

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