BOSTON – Daniel Theis was in the midst of one of the best performances of his NBA career Saturday night, when he felt a painful pop in his right foot. The Celtics big man, who had just tallied season highs of 17 points and eight rebounds against the Detroit Pistons, anticipated the worst.
The following day, however, Theis received some semi-positive news from the team’s medical staff. The pop he had heard in Detroit was the tearing of his right plantar fascia, but fortunately it was just a slight rip that will not require surgery. The 26-year-old sophomore will be sidelined indefinitely, although the team anticipates that he won’t face a lengthy recovery process.
“The indefinite timeline sounds worse than the timeline we’ve been given,” coach Brad Stevens stated after Monday’s practice. “I think it’s not going to be season-derailing or anything like that. We’ll see how he progresses over the next few weeks, and then the next steps will be determined. But they think it will be pretty quick recovery, which is fortunate.”
Theis addressed the media about his injury Tuesday morning while wearing a walking boot. He noted that he had experienced some minor discomfort in his foot leading up to the tear, but he’s not sure if the soreness was related to the impending injury.
“It was bothering me a little bit before, because of my knee injury,” said Theis, referring to the torn left meniscus he suffered last March, which abruptly ended his rookie season. “I’ve been shifting a little bit more weight on the right, but never felt (discomfort) like this.”
Despite just finishing a seven-month rehabilitation from his last injury, Theis remains in positive spirits. That’s because he anticipates he’ll be back on the court in no time.
“This [recovery] is going to be way shorter than the knee,” he stated with an optimistic smile. “The knee was a long process, but hopefully this is going to be way shorter.”
Theis went on to say that he will remain in the boot for the next two weeks, after which time he will be reevaluated. In the meantime, others will have to step up.
“It’s unfortunate what happened to Daniel. He was starting to come along,” said Aron Baynes, who is also a bit banged up as he recovers from a hamstring strain. “But it’s one of those things, we dealt with a few circumstances like that last season. It’s next man up. I’m doing everything I can every single day to try to get right and be able to contribute to the team again. So as soon as they give me the clearance, I’ll be ready.”
Baynes is hoping to gain such clearance Tuesday night, when the C’s host his former team, the Pistons, at TD Garden.
“I am 100 percent. I feel good,” said the 6-foot-10 center. “It’s about waiting for them to give me full clearance. You know, I’m a bull out of the gates. As soon as they say it’s fine, I have confidence in my body, I know what I feel. And I haven’t felt [any pain] in the last few days. So, I have the utmost confidence in my hammy.”
It would be perfect timing if Baynes could return Tuesday night, as Boston’s frontcourt is slated to face a hefty challenge in going up against Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin.
It would have been a major boost to have Theis, who averages 12.5 points per game against the Pistons (his highest against any team) in his brief career, as an option tonight, but at least there are plenty of able bodies. In addition to the potential return of Baynes, the C’s also have Al Horford, Robert Williams and Guerschon Yabusele.
The positive out of all of this is that Theis shouldn’t be sidelined for long. It could just be a matter of weeks, not months, until he is able to return to action.