According to Toronto broadcaster Eric Smith, the 7-foot rookie will not play for Team Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship this summer because of plantar fasciitis.
Medically speaking, he suffers from a painful inflammatory process of the connective tissue on the sole of his foot (a.k.a. the plantar fascia). Although common, this can be a nagging affliction for larger athletes who overuse the bottom surface or arch tendons of their feet.
Studies show that plantar fasciitis affects two million Americans a year, and 10 percent of the U.S. population over a lifetime. That group includes NBA stars like Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. The process has also sidelined New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The most common treatment of the injury is rest, so the bright side for Olynyk is that trainers caught it early. Attempting to run on a foot in the early stages of plantar fasciitis can often prolong a case, sometimes for up to six months.
Diagnosed since the 1970s, plantar fasciitis remains a maddening injury. For athletes who must run and stay on the floor, no "prevention" or "cure" truly exists. If it wants someone, it's probably going to get them. Furthermore, don't expect a set timetable for one particular case--some people heal in a week, others never fully recover.
Olynyk and the Celtics will likely approach this ailment with extreme caution, as the 22-year-old Gonzaga product currently sits at the very top of NBA.com's Rookie Ladder. He blew the cover off the Orlando Summer League, flashing a smooth stroke from long-range and obliterating opponents on the high-post as well as the drive. He finished with 18 points (leading the OSL) and 7.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
The 7-0, 238-pounder led the NCAA in player efficiency rating among power forwards last season. If he can stay on the floor for most of 2013-14, he would certainly stand to be a big part of the Celtics' first year of rebuilding.
For now, Olynyk's waiting game begins. Hurry up and heal, heel.
Sloan Piva lives in New England and covers the Boston Celtics. His articles have been published in a range of different magazines and websites. Find Sloan 24/7 on Twitter @SloanPiva.
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- Boston Celtics
- Kelly Olynyk
- plantar fasciitis