Greg Monroe, the newest member of the Celtics: 'I know I belong in this league'

A. Sherrod Blakely
NBC Sports Boston

Greg Monroe, the newest member of the Celtics: 'I know I belong in this league' originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

BOSTON -- One of the first faces Brad Stevens saw when he arrived at the TD Garden for tonight's game against San Antonio Spurs, was Greg Monroe. 

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The veteran center has signed a 10-day contract with Boston, and will be available to play tonight. 

"He wasn't here that long but it was a fun run while he was here," said Stevens, referring to the 26 games Monroe appeared in for Boston last season.

But the feel-good vibes that come with any kind of reunion, are put to the side when you look at the main reason he's here - injuries to Boston's frontcourt. 

Al Horford is out for tonight's game with a left knee soreness. 

And while Aron Baynes (foot) will be available to play tonight, he has had a series of injuries all season that will result in him playing the least amount of games since his rookie season. 

Also, rookie Robert Williams III has also had a injury-riddled season with the latest setback coming on Saturday night when he suffered a low back injury during his first NBA start.

"With our injuries we need bodies, and we need bodies at that position," Stevens said. "So, the timing is good."

Monroe, who was traded from Toronto to Brooklyn and then waived by the Nets, said talks with the Celtics and his camp began shortly after the trade deadline. 

"But things didn't get serious until like last week," Monroe said. "It happened really fast; really quickly."

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And by signing a 10-day contract, Monroe understands that he'll be counted on to contribute quickly whenever he gets a chance to play which Stevens said before the game, could come as early as tonight - just hours after signing his 10-day contract. 

And while Monroe learned a new playbook in Toronto, his familiarity with the Celtics and their system from having played here last season should help him re-acclimate himself to what Stevens and the Celtics will need from him whenever he gets an opportunity to play. 

"It came back quickly," said Monroe who added, "I definitely feel comfortable with the stuff they try to put in quickly for me. I remember, and still understand the plays and things like that."

After being waived by the Nets, Monroe said he went home and stayed in the gym, confident an opportunity to play again would come at some point.

"That's all you can do," he said before adding, "Things always turn around quickly in this league. All it takes is one play and you're back in it; you never know what can happen."

During his time in Boston, Monroe averaged 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds along with 2.3 assists while shooting 53 percent from the field.

With the Raptors this season, he averaged 4.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. 

And while the numbers are modest, Monroe's production is a reminder of just how effective and efficient he can be in a limited capacity. 

Monroe hopes those skills translate to a productive second tour of duty with Boston after a period of time in which he did not have a team to play for. 

"It's really tough," Monroe said. "It's the first time that (I) hadn't been on a basketball team since I was like 5 years old. It's definitely tough. But it's part of the game. I'm not the first guy it has happened to. You have to be mentally tough and stay focused. I know I belong in this league. I feel that way and I'll always feel that way and I will continue to believe in my work." 

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