BOSTON — After suffering a hamstring injury on Saturday against the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics center Aron Baynes is out against the Orlando Magic but feeling better, according to Brad Stevens.
“He’s feeling a little better,” Stevens said. “He did a little bit of running at 70 percent of his body weight and felt pretty good, which was encouraging coming off of that.”
Baynes pulled up limping in the first half against New York and was immediately replaced by Marcus Morris. Stevens said after the game that hamstring injuries are “scary.”
But on Monday, Stevens said he doesn’t believe Baynes will need an MRI and the Celtics may have gotten off lucky.
“It sounded like it was a hamstring strain,” Stevens said. “(The trainers) felt pretty good about the diagnosis. They didn’t feel like it was a long, long-term thing, but, again, I feel fortunate about that because obviously hamstring and muscular injuries can be a little scary and keep guys out awhile. It doesn’t sound like that will be the case.”
Morris, meanwhile, was listed as questionable prior to the game, but the Celtics listed him as active after his warm-up.
Other pre-game notes:
– Monday is Brad Stevens’ first time playing a game on his birthday. The Celtics’ coach turned 42.
“Is that right?” Stevens said, when alerted to the fact. “Well, being in basketball for however many years now, you don’t get to celebrate it during the season, so it’s just a part of it. It’s nice to get well wishes.”
Stevens said his players tried to sing Happy Birthday somewhat unsuccessfully. Daniel Theis said the only player singing was rookie Rob Williams.
“The passion was there,” Stevens said. “The effort was there.”
– Steve Clifford said he and Brad Stevens have gone out for dinner a few times when their teams visited each other.
“He’s great to talk basketball with,” Clifford said. “We enjoy each other. You don’t always do that, but like last year one time they came to Charlotte, we found time, we grabbed dinner, which doesn’t happen a lot in this league, but I enjoy him. We get along well. You go out to dinner, you talk basketball and it’s fun.”
– Clifford has been impressed with rookie center Mo Bamba, whose wingspan is the longest in the NBA.
“He has a natural skill package,” Clifford said. “I think he has good poise. I think he’s a great person. I think he wants to be very good, and like the other night was the first back to back. That was different for him, getting in late and playing like that. And a lot of it is just going through the natural learning process that it takes when you’re a 20-year-old in the NBA, and you’re going from playing Wednesday and Saturday to three in four nights. He has a chance to be a terrific player, I love his attitude, and he badly wants to do well and those are all critical things for him to be as good as he can, which I think will happen.”