Celtics’ Payton Pritchard ‘very close’ to returning after knee injury

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Cody Taylor
·2 min read
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Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on Thursday said that rookie Payton Pritchard is close to returning to play after suffering a right MCL sprain on Jan. 22.

Pritchard suffered the injury versus the Philadelphia 76ers when teammate Jaylen Brown crashed into his right leg. He had to be helped off the court by the team medical staff and was unable to put any weight onto his leg following the play.

The Celtics originally announced that Pritchard was ruled out for at least two weeks after it was determined he suffered a Grade I sprain. Pritchard had made good progress in his recovery and nearly returned to play on Wednesday versus the Sacramento Kings.

“He’s very close. He was close to playing last night,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. “Payton is a tough kid and our biggest fear with him is coming back too soon. Some guys, you’re trying to push out there to get back. But Payton, his history in high school and college is he wants to play through everything. He has a sore knee and he isn’t 100% yet. I suspect sometime on this trip he’ll be ready to play.”

Pritchard, who has not played since suffering the injury, has been seen recently with the Celtics putting up shots on the court, an indication that he is progressing well in his rehab.

The 26th overall pick this season has emerged as a key player off the bench for the Celtics, averaging 7.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds on 42.5% shooting from 3-point range.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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