BOSTON – Not a whole lot has changed in regards to Markieff Morris’ status for Game 2 vs. the Boston Celtics, but coach Scott Brooks isn’t going to allow his starting power forward to scare him into letting him play with a sore left ankle.
“He’s going to play tonight if he feels comfortable along with our staff, our medical staff, and myself. (If he doesn’t), he won’t play,” Brooks said after shootaround Tuesday morning. “He’s not going to play no matter how many times he punches me in the face. It’s not going to happen. He is pretty intimidating, but I’m not going to allow him to intimidate me.”
Morris, who rolled his left ankle in the first half of Game 1, got up shots and tested the ankle at a light, 30-minute shootaround but didn’t make any sharp cuts. He rolled it after Al Horford stuck his foot underneath him on a jump shot in Game 1 that Boston seized 123-111.
“I’m feeling cool. Going to talk to my coaches. Game-time decision,” Morris said. “It’s sore but I feel like I can push through it.”
Morris has had a long history with ankle injuries, and he eventually missed time after going down in November in a game with the Miami Heat.
“The swelling has gone down. He’s been diligent along with our staff to get treatments around the clock. You have to factor he has a toughness about him. He has an edge,” Brooks said. “He wants to play. I still don’t know. I’ll find out more probably 65-70 minutes before the game.
“We’re going to do what’s best for him. Every competitive athlete wants to be out there with their team. It’s the playoffs. We’re down 1-0 but with all that being said we’re going to do what’s best for him long-term.”
If Morris isn’t able to go, Kelly Oubre will start in his place. Oubre began the third quarter of Game 1 when Morris didn’t return.
“At this stage, you have to play through some soreness and pain. But you’re not going to play through an injury. We’re not going to allow that. There’s a big difference,” Brooks said. “If you’re hurt you’re going to sit down and get ready to play when you’re ready to play. If you’re sore you’ve got to take a look and test it.
“We don’t want him to be out there (like) Willis Reed, make two shots and sit on the bench, emotional lift. We want him to be able to play and be effective for us.”
Morris will get treatment throughout Game 2 when playing and ride an exercise bike to keep it loose and warm.
He doesn’t know how it will respond unless he’s in real-time action. He said the ankle feels better after he estimated his pain was at a 5 on a 1-10 scale on Monday.
“It went down some,” Morris said of the swelling, “but you don’t really get the full effect unless your adrenaline is going. Me being out here shooting with a little bit of pain won’t be the same as a game when my adrenaline is on 100 so that’s just basically where we’re at right now.”
Morris’ mother wants him to play. His twin, Marcus, wants him to play, too.
Though he respects Brooks’ authority, Morris wants it to be his decision.
“It’s my career isn’t it?” he said.