Celtics set for their overseas adventure

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Celtics set for their overseas adventure

WALTHAM Their bags are packed, the Celtics are ready to take their show . . . overseas.

No, David Stern hasn't created an NBA team in Europe yet. The C's will leave their practice facility Monday evening and hop on their plane where they'll start a seven-day European training camp taking them through Istanbul and Milan, which includes two preseason games.

It's not the first time the C's organization has gone overseas. They went to Rome prior to their 2007-08 season, and the bond created on that trip played a big hand in their winning a championship that season.

If they take home another championship this season, well, European camps may just become required.

But Boston knows that winning a championship takes far more work than going on a field trip. The goal of the trip is to come together, and go from there.

Obviously we want to work on team chemistry," Kevin Garnett said. "Obviously we want to get better every time we step on the floor. From a basketball standpoint obviously were still getting to know each other. But its bigger than that. I think the trip to Turkey will be more social. The trip to Milan will be more for the chemistry."

When The C's traded for Garnett and Ray Allen five seasons ago, Doc Rivers needed to get his team out of the fray. They had just become the hottest thing in sports. There's less hype this time around, and Rivers isn't as high on this upcoming trip (breaking up camp to travel isn't what he wanted) but with a lot of new faces, a little team-building certainly won't hurt.

"We scheduled the Rome trip in response to all the moves we made," Rivers said. "We really wanted that trip to happen. I don't know if this one I could say I wanted it, but it's something now with all the moves I'm looking forward to it."

And you can bet the players are especially the young guys. Last year at this time, Fab Melo was in class (OK, maybe not) at Syracuse. Now, he's experiencing everything that comes with being an NBA player. Doc Rivers had bit of advice to the young guys.

"Just make sure they carry all their luggage," he joked. "Other than that, I think it's great for them because it gives them a little bit of a taste of what a long road trip would be even though we only play two games. I think everything for them is new, and this will give them when we do finally go on the road for real I think this will be a pretty good lesson for them."

But touching down in Istanbul is a lot different than touching down in any American city. Being in a foreign country far away from friends and family the team will be inclined to talk more off the court. That's one thing Rivers remembers from the last trip.

"The craziest thing is that their cellphones didn't work so they actually had to talk to each other on the bus," Rivers said. "I thought that was nice, in this new cell phone whatever generation this is. And that will be the same because of the cost of calls."

But what about when they're not on the bus or at practice? There's got to be sights to see and plenty to do. Rajon Rondo missed Fashion Week in Milan by about a week, but he said he had other things to look forward to.

"A lot of shopping," Rondo joked. "Oh, as far as a team. Well, this is a regular training camp except we'll be out of the country. We want to continue our focus as far as getting better, get better each day, work on our sets, become as good of a team we can in possibly seven days."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”