Kelly Olynyk returns vs. Jazz

BOSTON -- After missing the last 18 games with a sprained right ankle, Boston Celtics second-year big man Kelly Olynyk is expected to return to action on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz.

Olynyk sprained the ankle after landing awkwardly on an opponent's foot during a win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 22. The team has been patient with his recovery.

"It's definitely a long time," said Olynyk when asked about his lengthy absence. "It’s tough. I did some damage to it, so I wanted to make sure it was good so I could come back and help."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted he's unsure what to expect in Olynyk's first game back.

"I watched him play 3-on-3 [on Tuesday], he looked good to me," said Stevens. "Hopefully he can give us what he gives us and that is a skilled offensive guy and a guy, defensively, with some size."

The Celtics have missed Olynyk's versatility up front.

"One of Kelly’s best attributes as a player is that he can play with any lineup," said Stevens. "No matter what the skill set of the guy next to him on the front line is he complements that person -- if it’s a rim-roller and not a skilled guy, he complements them; if it’s a skilled guy, it’s just another skilled guy on the court. That’s his greatest strength in my opinion."

Stevens said he expects to utilize Olynyk in his typical reserve role, adding size to a unit that has played a lot of small ball recently.

Asked before Wednesday's game how he might avoid future ankle injuries, Olynyk deadpanned, "Best thing to do is to try to avoid coming down on other people’s feet. Maybe jump less or something, jump less frequently. I”m not sure."