Valentine: Crawford won't play Opening Day

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Valentine: Crawford won't play Opening Day

FORT MYERS, Fla. Manager Bobby Valentine said left fielder Carl Crawford is progressing after a setback last week on his left wrist, on which he had arthroscopic surgery in mid-January. But, despite the improvements, Valentine said he is not planning on having Crawford in his Opening Day lineup.

Crawford threw at 60 feet for I think 35 throws and he was pain free, Valentine said before Friday nights game against the Pirates. Everyone liked what they saw. And better yet everyone felt as good afterward as before the throwing session. The coaching staff and medical staff have met on Carl to try to map out not necessarily a schedule but at least a workload concept where we could all -- the training room and the hitting coach and the outfield coach, manager, et al -- could be kind of on the same page as far as what needs to be done and how were going to do it.

Crawfords next milestone will be swinging a bat in the batting cage off a tee.

Valentine has stressed the importance of letting the recovery take its own process and not focus on Opening Day or any other date on the calendar.

I never try to have the calendar dictate the health of a player and I think Carl understands that, Valentine said. This is like a tree, if you will, in your garden. In time the fruit will be there but we cant rush the process. You cant allow what happened last time the setback to happen again by trying to let the calendar dictate the healing process. It takes time. When we allow him that time I think hes going to be healed physically so that he could play without pain, without cause of concern. And I dont know when that is.

To tell you the truth, Im not planning on him for Opening Day. I think I said that, too, coming in, and then I might have changed my mind when he started hitting and throwing early. But I have to go back to the original.

How Crawfords absence will affect the outfield depth remains to be determined.

If everyones able to perform like Im hoping they perform -- and again, I havent seen a whole heck of a lot of it. I guess were up to 16 at-bats I guess per outfielder, and theyre all rusty at-bats, but well see, Valentine said. You build on those 16, get up to 35 and youll start seeing what you really have.

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”