BOSTON – As the Boston Celtics players trickle back into town for pick-up games at their new fancy-smancy practice facility, Daniel Theis loves what he’s seen from the guys except for one thing – himself in the role of spectator.
That’ll change soon with Theis on track to be ready for the start of training camp later this month.
The 6-foot-9 Theis suffered a torn meniscus injury to his left knee in March, cutting short what had been a promising rookie season.
But these days, the end of the recovery road is well within sight for the 26-year-old.
Earlier this week, Theis said he began doing 1-on-1 work which was physically challenging but left him with a “good tired” feeling afterwards.
He plans to rest this weekend and hopefully get started with some 5-on-5 work next week so he’ll be ready to start training camp on September 25.
“That’s my goal,” Theis said. “To be back 100 percent for training camp.”
And the Celtics can certainly use Theis, who emerged as a key contributor off the bench last season.
Appearing in 63 games, Theis averaged 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game before suffering his season-ending knee injury. His ability on the glass was particularly important to Boston, which for years ranked among the NBA’s worst when it came to boards. But this past season, Boston was 14th in the NBA in rebounding percentage (.503) – the highest ranking under Brad Stevens, who is heading into his sixth season.
Among players to appear in at least half of the games played by Boston last season, Theis led the team in offensive rebound percentage (.105), defensive rebound percentage (.217) and overall rebound percentage (.160) which speaks to how he got the most out of the 14.8 minutes per game he played in terms of rebounding the basketball.
And considering most of the players from last season’s team are back, Theis’ mindset going into this season is clear.
“Play for a championship,” he said.