Two lockerless Celtics learning from the ground up

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Two lockerless Celtics learning from the ground up

BOSTON -- The piles of clothes stood out in the middle of the locker room, tucked next to two chairs placed atop the Boston Celtics logo printed on the carpet.

Players carefully walked around the shirts and pants as they made their way to their own lockers, where their items hung neatly on hangers.

Welcome to the locker room accommodations of a training camp invitee. For Boston Celtics Micah Downs and Rob Kurz, they wouldn't want to be sitting in a chair anywhere else.

"I'm just happy to be in this locker room," Downs told CSNNE.com prior to Tuesday's preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets. "I don't care, they could put me in the bathroom."

Both Downs, a rookie, and Kurz, who played a season for the Golden State Warriors, are soaking up all the sights and sounds being near their teammates. They have a table to place their belongings on at the Celtics practice facility, and they are happy to keep their items on the floor at TD Garden if it means playing in green and white. They had an idea heading into training camp that they would be without lockers given there were more players on the roster than spots along the wall.

"I'd sit on the floor, that's fine," said Kurz. "I'm just happy to be here. It's great to be around a great group of guys, a great team, a great coaching staff, and a great organization."

Kurz has even discovered perks of his seat. He has a front row view for watching game film and is just a few feet away from Kevin Garnett's locker. "We're neighbors," he joked.

Downs and Kurz played four minutes apiece in Tuesday's loss to the Nets. Downs scored two points (1-4 FG) while Kurz grabbed three rebounds. As the regular season approaches, it remains to be seen if either will stick on the Celtics. Even if they play elsewhere, their time with the team -- and in the locker room -- has been well worth it.

"Just being the presence of and practicing with Kevin Garnett and Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo, it's an overwhelming experience," said Downs. "I've already learned so much more than I thought I would have."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.