BOSTON -- Boston Celtics rookie James Young suffered what coach Brad Stevens termed "a bit of muscular damage" after enduring a right shoulder subluxation in an NBA Development League appearance with the Maine Red Claws on Wednesday night and is expected to spend the next couple weeks rehabbing with hopes of avoiding surgery.
Young injured the shoulder after absorbing contact from Drew Gordon while trying to corral an outlet pass near midcourt late in the third quarter of a game against the Delaware 87ers. Young said the shoulder dislocated, but popped back in. He underwent tests Thursday and the team is hopeful the shoulder will heal on its own.
"The tests came back, we talked about it being subluxed, there was a little, and I don’t want to misstate it, just a little bit of muscular damage that he can rehab, hopefully, without having to have surgery," said Stevens. "So he’s going to be rehabbing over the next couple of weeks, then we’ll reevaluate. But it’s pretty typical of a subluxed shoulder."
For Young, this is the third setback in his brief NBA career. Young was involved in a pre-draft car accident that was severe enough to end his draft workouts and keep him off the court throughout the NBA's summer league in early July due to whiplash and concussion-like symptoms.
Before his first NBA exhibition game, Young strained his left hamstring and missed the team's next six games, pushing him to the back of the depth chart before the start of the regular season.
"It’s frustrating, but I gotta keep my head up and keep my confidence high," Young said before Friday's game. He noted he initially feared he might be out longer after the shoulder dislocated, but team doctors are hopeful a couple weeks of downtime will be enough to allow him to resume basketball activities.
Young, the 17th overall pick in June's draft, has appeared in five games for Boston playing a total of 18 minutes. He was on his fourth assignment with the Red Claws, having embraced the chance to get game reps in the D-League.
"I think we really need to continue with our plan with him, whether he’s on the floor or not," said Stevens. "Just everyday study -- take in these games, take in the scouting reports, maybe re-watch these games with staff members and really delve into them a different way, and I think that’s the way you have to do it when guys are not available, especially a 19-year-old that’s not available."
With Maine, Young reaffirmed his offensive potential -- particularly his sweet stroke beyond the 3-point arc -- but the team has been working to bring along his raw defensive abilities.
"The thing that we all see when we see James is his savvy and his fluidity and the game comes pretty easy to him," said Stevens. "The next step for James is, in my opinion, is getting strong enough and getting used to the defensive system in the NBA so that he can guard either a 2 or a 3. Whichever comes first, great, but, night in and night out in this league, those are hard positions to guard."
Young, one of the youngest players in the NBA, is trying to be patient despite the setbacks.
"I know my time is going to come," he said. "I’m not worried about anything, just getting better. Get my body stronger, and my time will come."