Tristan Thompson starts against Milwaukee

He’ll be under a minutes restriction until further notice, and he still needs time to round into his on-court self, but it’s somewhat remarkable that after only a week of practice Tristan Thompson started in the season opener against Milwaukee.
“I feel good. Went through shootaround, went through practice. I’ve got to go through my routine, make sure I check all the boxes with the training staff,” he said after a Wednesday morning shootaround. “So things are looking like they’re going in the right direction. Of course we’ve got to see when I go through the warmup and they run the test on the hammy to make sure it clears all the protocols they have on the boxes and then if it does hopefully I’ll be able to suit up tonight.”
Thompson’s sore hamstring ended up passing that pre-game test, putting him back into action for the first time in what felt like an eternity.
“My last game was March 9th against the Spurs so it’s been over nine, 10 months without competitive basketball so I’m itching, I’m excited,” he said. “Obviously, with this long layoff for myself, after awhile you get a little crazy and you get kind of bored doing the same thing, whether it’s working out with your trainer in the weight room or on the court.
“It’s about time to get some live action so I’m excited about that,” said Thompson. “In terms of starting or coming off the bench, at the end of the day I’m about winning. I’m about how I can win and be an asset to this team to be successful. Whatever position coach wants me to be in, I accept any role and I’ve done it before whether it’s starting and playing at a high level or coming off the bench to be productive, I’ve done it at the highest of highs.
“Whatever Coach Stevens wants me to do to help this team win and play at our max potential, I’m all about that. In terms of the hamstring, it feels good. Like I said, if you guys see any NBA players that play over seven years, they will never be 100 percent.  As you get older, you go from 90s to 100. For me, 92 is the new 100 percent. I feel good, I’m competing and going up and down with the guys in live-action. As long as I check those boxes off with the training staff, they want to make sure that nothing lingers so they feel good about it. I trust them and I’ll be out there.”
Houston, we’ve got a problem
After perfection in the Orlando bubble, it didn’t take long for the NBA’s new conditions to prove vulnerable.
Houston’s opener against Oklahoma City was postponed after three Rockets either tested positive or inconclusive. James Harden, now under investigation for violation of the league’s COVID policy and thus sidelined, was featured in a viral video at a club without a mask. Harden has told NBA officials he did not violate protocol. Four other players were ineligible due to contact tracing. As such, the Rockets didn’t have the league minimum of eight available players.
It doesn’t take much to step over the line in the COVID era.
“I literally just heard that as we were walking in here. I know that we’re all over every day doing what we need to do both in the facility and recognizing the responsibility that we all have to each other as a staff, as players, as everybody else,” said Stevens. “And even the smallest of interactions can threaten that.
“But it’s why we test every day, it’s why we test — right now, we’ve got tests that are point of care and PCR that are 24-hour returns. So we’ve got both of those things going on. And at the same time, it shows just how fragile it is. I don’t think that we necessarily needed a reminder because all you have to do is look at the NFL, turn on college basketball, talk to your friends. And it’s everywhere. We’re going to do our very best to avoid it.”
Heinsohn honored
In honor of the late Tommy Heinsohn and 86-year-old Bill Russell, the Celtics lowered the championship banners most meaningful in their careers and displayed them at both ends of the floor, including 1957 (their first), 1965 (Heinsohn’s last as a player), 1969 (Russell’s last as player/coach), 1974 and 1976 (Heinsohn won both as a coach), 1984 (Heinsohn was color commentator on national telecast), 1986 (color commentator) and, finally, his last as a broadcaster in 2008.
History lesson
As someone with a championship ring to his credit, it’s particularly fulfilling for Thompson to settle in with the Celtics and their history.
“I think it’s exciting. I think it’s only right in my 10th year in the league to start a new chapter,” he said. “Of course I’ve had some amazing years in Cleveland, but this chapter of my life being in Boston and joining a historic franchise that’s about winning, it’s not just the Celtics, the city of Boston is about winning. The city is built off winners, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, they expect a competitive team to play at a high level. And that’s my DNA, so I’m excited. We’ve got a great group of guys. We have a lot of potential and seeing how they finished last year, if I can come in and help them and help teach these guys what I’ve learned from the great players I’ve played with in the past, that’s what I’m here to do.”

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