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Kelly Olynyk on injured shoulder: 'Little sore, little stiff,' but on right track

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk engaged in some light shooting on Monday, taking a step forward in his rehab from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for nearly a month.

Olynyk suffered a separated shoulder when Los Angeles Clippers forward DeAndre Jordan fouled him on Feb. 10. Olynyk has missed Boston's last nine games but sounded hopeful that he's moving closer to a return.

"[The shoulder is] a little sore, a little stiff. I'd say it's still not exactly where I want it to be yet but it's definitely on the right path so we'll see how it responds," said Olynyk, who noted that he planned to conference with the team's medical staff after Monday's practice to evaluate how he'll proceed.

Olynyk hinted he might be able to return to contact activities at Tuesday's practice but neither he nor coach Brad Stevens would put a firm timetable on when he might return to game action.

Said Olynyk: "Re-evaluate it tonight, [Tuesday] morning at practice, see how it responds and go from there."

Added Stevens: "[Olynyk is] kind of day-to-day now. We'll see how Kelly feels [Tuesday]. ... I’ve only talked to him real briefly after we just did a shootaround, so we didn’t do a whole lot. But he shot the ball and he seemed to feel more comfortable with extending his range as the day went on. So we’ll see."

Olynyk didn't sound like a player ready to jump back into action immediately, noting that, "The shot feels all right. It's more the quick movements and crossing, jumping up and grabbing the ball, stretch, that kind of stuff." He did admit that he's eager to get back on the court.

"I'm super excited to get back," said Olynyk. "It's tough watching them out there. You want to be out there with them, helping them out. It's easy if they're winning. It's tough if we're losing, then you really want to get out there and see if you can make a difference."

The Celtics are 6-3 without Olynyk and have benefited from a home-heavy schedule, which included winning all five games on a recent homestand at TD Garden before Saturday's loss on the road to the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics play just two games over the next eight days, which could provide ample practice time for Olynyk to test his shoulder and start working toward game condition.

Stevens knows how valuable Olynyk can be just by stepping on the court.

“He’s been an effective player for us as far as handling, passing, and shooting," said Stevens. "He knows where to be defensively. He’s been around for three years. All those things really help. He’s an effective player when he’s on the court. We’re a good team when he’s on the court. So I think that shooting is a small part of it. He’s not a high-volume shooter by any means. He’s not a high-volume scorer by any means. But he has to be guarded. The threat is a factor in and of itself."

Olynyk owns a team-best net rating of plus-6.4 points per 100 possessions among regulars during his floor time. Boston's bench has held the fort without Olynyk, but his floor-stretching abilities should only help the reserve groups and improve Boston's overall depth.