WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics returned to the practice floor Sunday, but with thinned numbers as minor injuries in the early portion of training camp have sidelined some more top names.
Both Jeff Green (calf) and rookie Marcus Smart (groin) were expected to sit out Sunday's afternoon practice and coach Brad Stevens dubbed them both questionable for Monday's exhibition opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Green strained his left calf during Friday's intrasquad scrimmage. He was on the floor before Sunday's session getting up shots and Stevens stressed it's not a long-term concern.
"I would say [Green is] questionable at best [Monday] night, but no long-term [issue]," Stevens said. "There's no need to start the season with a lingering injury. ... We want to be really careful with that because we want him to get back to 100 percent with any muscular issues right now."
Stevens said Smart "has a little bit of a strained groin. He’s not going to practice today. I don’t really know, he’s between questionable or probable [for Monday], however you want to say it."
The Celtics already have been operating without point guard Rajon Rondo (hand), taking away three players pegged for top rotation spots this season. What's more, Vitor Faverani (knee) was expected to sit out again on Sunday as he battles swelling from camp activity.
Brandon Bass suffered a corneal abrasion in Friday's scrimmage, but was set to practice Sunday. He joked of the injury that, "I got a rebound. A minute later, Kelly [Olynyk] went for the rebound and poked me in my eye."
The Celtics also will have Joel Anthony available as he was expected to engage in his first full practice after being limited by a groin strain at the start of camp.
Do injuries set the Celtics back this time of year?
"[The injured players are] going to have to learn through watching, they are going to learn through film," Stevens said. "They are going to have to be out here and be ready to hit the ground running when they get back on the court. That’s on our staff, it’s on our assistant coaches, it’s on them as individuals."
But Stevens stressed he can't downshift much because of missing players.
"I'll back off the timeline a little bit, might make a drill a jog-through instead of a full-contact drill, but we've got to use this day as another growing and building day," Stevens said. "And the guys that are on the court have to get better. And the guys that aren’t have got to watch and be ready to hit the ground running."
With eyes toward Monday's exhibition opener, Stevens said that Smart will start at point guard if he is healthy enough to go, while Evan Turner would start if the rookie can't suit up.
Some loose balls from Sunday's media access:
• Film review: Intrasquad scrimmage: Stevens spent Saturday's off-day dissecting film from Friday's intrasquad scrimmage. What did he find? "Some good, some bad. The good news is that, on film, there’s a lot to like. And there’s a lot to teach off of. When someone does really well, that usually means that somebody else on your team did pretty poorly, so that’s the problem with intrasquad scrimmages. ... I think it’s easy to overreact to guys scoring and doing that type of thing, and I think we had some really good performances that wouldn’t be found on a stat sheet. We’re still in mix-and-match stage, there’s no question about it. But we had a couple guys that really impacted winning and to me that’s really the most important thing." Stevens praised second-year big man Kelly Olynyk's efforts on both ends of the court Friday and said, "I thought he was one of our best players on the court the other night and has been in practice as well."
• Young's smooth stroke: Rookie James Young has a pretty looking left-handed shot and put together a sequence in Friday's second scrimmage in which he made consecutive 3-pointers (turning the back end into a four-point play after being fouled). Stevens was asked about his smooth stroke. "That’s his deal. He shoots it easy. In college, even at the 3-point line, his shot didn’t look like there was any effort going into it. He’s a smooth, smooth shooter. He’s just going to get better and, when his footwork is consistent, he’s a lights-out shooter." Stevens did caution that "[Young has to] continue to grow in the other areas, I think everybody gets excited because he hits a couple 3s in a row, but he’s still got a ways to go. But to his credit he’s working hard to get there quicker."
• Deep talk: Staying behind the arc, Stevens was asked how the Celtics could improve their 3-point shooting this season as a team. "I think that’s a combination of guys that have to get in the gym and make themselves better shooters, and putting guys in position and groups that maybe space the court better than others," Stevens said. "I like the idea that we’ve got a couple of different guys now that can get you to the paint off the dribble. That helps free up opportunities for our shooters and most of the 3-pointers that we made the other day were off the extra pass or off an inside-out play. That’s a good thing. You’re trying to get great step-in 3-point shots, and hey, we said it last year, our bigs struggled to shoot from a percentage standpoint, but they looked good shooting it. They’re good shooters and I think they are getting better doing that."
• Daniels visiting: Marquis Daniels, who spent three seasons in Boston, visited the team on Sunday. The 33-year-old did not find an NBA job last season and is touring a handful of teams with eyes toward a potential future in coaching.