C's shoot straight with Melo

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C's shoot straight with Melo

Boston's three newest Celtics were introduced this morning at a press conference in Allston, and as you'd expect it was a pretty laid back and lighthearted affair. Or at least that's the impression I got from stories, highlights and Twitter.

It looked like a lot of smiling and posing; a lot of pleasantries, to use the parlance of our times. Hell, the Celtics even performed an entire set of Fab Melo material.

"And is he your academic advisor, too?" Danny Ainge asked Melo, after the rookie introduced the crowd to business manager Rodrigo Viegas. (By the way, Rodrigo is already my favorite Boston sports sidekick since Nelson de la Rosa.)

"We have no tests, I told (Melo) that yesterday, Rivers said in an interview with ESPN New York Radio. I jokingly told him, I said, Listen were going to introduce you tomorrow and wed going to do a Read to Achieve thing (with young students). Are you OK with that?

It was a bundle of laughs, but also an interesting and strategic way for the Celtics to approach Melo's questionable time at Syracuse.

Bottom line: They didn't run away from it. They put everything out in the open. They literally made it a laughing matter. In the process, they let Melo know that it's not a big deal. They made it harder for other people to make it a big deal. By joking about Melo's past, the Celtics were essentially B-Rabbit tossing the mic to Papa Doc (the media) at the end of 8 Mile:

"Now tell these people something they don't know about me!"

And I loved it. At times, this Celtics regime has been accused of (and taken pride in) being Belichickian, but today was not one of those times. Today, the Celtics were real. They handled a potential media firestorm with grace and confidence, and the result is likely one less thing for Melo to worry about moving forward.

If I have one concern, it's that Doc and the Celtics won't realize when the jokes stop being funny. For instance, back when Big Baby was here, Doc loved taking jabs at Baby's weight. Why? Partly, because it would always get a laugh from reporters. But also because Davis was an easy target, and a guy Doc thought needed to be tougher. After so many years, the jokes became predictable, unproductive and only added to the tension between two.

Just something to think about if Doc's still making "stupid" jokes this winter. But for now, it's all good. The first press conference is in the books and the education of Fab Melo can begin.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Thomas (groin) 'pretty ambitious' about return, remains day-to-day

Thomas (groin) 'pretty ambitious' about return, remains day-to-day

BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas, out for the second straight game with a right groin injury, is hoping to be back in the lineup by Wednesday’s game at San Antonio. 

But the Celtics may find themselves having to save the 5-foot-9 from himself on this one. 

“When I talked to Ed (Lacerte, the team’s head trainer) over the last 24-48 hours they said it’s usually 10 days to two weeks for an injury like this,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters.

“But again we're talking about Isaiah being pretty ambitious in his return,” Stevens said. “He's been getting treatment around the clock so we'll see. He'll be officially listed as day-to-day.”

When asked about how he was feeling prior to the game, Thomas said, “I’m not that good because I can’t play (tonight). It’s getting better. It hasn’t gotten worse and I’m just working as hard as I can to get back on the court.”

At a Christmas event earlier this week, Thomas said he was planning to travel with the Celtics when they play at Oklahoma City on Sunday and at San Antonio on Wednesday. 

But he didn’t sound as optimistic when asked about it on Friday. 

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll probably know tonight.”

If the Celtics have ruled him out for Sunday’s game against the Thunder, it would make more sense for him to stay in Boston and continue to rehab his groin. And if he’s feeling better to the point where he becomes a game-time decision, he could meet the team in San Antonio. 

“I’m going to take it day-by-day,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, I can play in the next few games and we'll see what happens. Today I feel a lot better than I have since I (suffered) the injury so we'll see maybe in next couple of days. I'm shooting for Wednesday."

As much as Thomas wants to be back on the floor quickly, he understands that he must listen to his body as well as the Celtics’ medical folks who have consistently brought back players only after they pass a series of rigorous physical tests that leave little doubt about a player’s readiness to return to action. 

“Our medical staff is great and he trusts them,” Stevens said. “But also, nobody knows his body better than him. They feel like he's not looking (to be sidelined) long-term. It's not going to be a long-term thing for sure. We got to make sure not to bring him back tonight or too soon.”

Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game in addition to being Boston’s leaders in assists with 6.2 per game. 

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