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Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk may put off “inevitable” shoulder surgery to play for Canada

Kelly Olynyk, Mike Scott

Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, left, reacts after being called for an offensive foul against Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Scott, right, during the second quarter in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


Boston’s Kelly Olynyk is going to have shoulder surgery. He has admitted it’s inevitable The only question is when.

He could get it done now, but the Canadian sees an Olympic qualifying tournament coming up where he would play a vital role and Canada has a legitimate chance to advance out of the group (despite recent players bowing out, France is still the favorite). Because of that national commitment, Olynyk is considering postponing the surgery, he told A. Sherrod Blakely of

But Olynyk isn’t quite ready to commit to having it surgically repaired this summer, a summer in which the Canadian National team for which he is a key member, is still in the process of trying to qualify for the summer Olympics in Rio.

“If I rest it, I would definitely partake in the Olympic (qualifying tournament),” Olynyk told CSN at a fundraising event for Horizons for Homeless on Sunday. “That would be the reason to not get surgery at this point. If you rest it, it’ll get better but never solve the problem. That’s what we’re looking at....

“I’m still looking at it,” Olynyk said. “Probably make a decision sooner than later because the recovery is so long if you do get it. It’s hard to give up, Olympics, but when you do look at it, if you get hurt it’s even worse to give up the next season. It’s a tough decision.”

The recovery time on the surgery is five months, meaning even if Olynyk got the surgery today he would miss most of training camp and possibly the start of the season.

The “club vs. country” debate is not new to the Olympics or to international basketball competitions — Canadians are understandably excited about their national team and Olynyk doesn’t want to let them down. You can understand the tug of war he is having over this.

But when there is needed surgery on the line, the club should win out. Canada’s Olympic prospects are going to be better in four years, and Olynyk likely gets another crack at the games in Tokyo in four years. What he doesn’t want is a more involved surgery or a shoulder issue that becomes a lingering thing because he put it off.

Expect his decision in the coming days.