When it comes to player-days lost to COVID-related absences the Boston Celtics have a commanding lead and it isn’t even close, so you should forgive recently-acquired veteran shooting guard Evan Fournier a pass for wanting to get back into the thick of things with his new team.
Sidelined by the league’s health and safety protocols before he even had a chance to play for the Celtics, Fournier found himself out against with a positive COVID case not long after being cleared to play with the team in yet another example of the worst luck of that sort in the NBA.
At the time of this writing, Boston is “ahead” of the next-closest team in player-days lost to COVID by 44 days total — 162 total to the Dallas Mavericks’ 118, per Fansure’s COVID-19 dashboard — with Fournier coming in second on the team for days lost to tie Romeo Langford.
Only veteran big man Tristan Thompson has missed more time with 26 days lost to the protocols — and like the Canadian center, neither had much of a chance to get up to speed with the team, instead having to learn on the fly. “I probably could have waited a few more days or a few more games to really feel better,” explained Fournier to the media after a loss to the Brooklyn Nets he was clearly winded in at times. “But, I just got here.”
“I need reps to play with the guys and really understand the system offensively and defensively. I only had two days of practice. And for me, the most important thing is just to be out there, so it’s, it’s going to be hard, obviously, but I have to fight through it and push through it.”
“Because to me,” he added, “that’s the only way I’m going to feel better at some point.” https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1386043193381179392?s=20
Asked if he used the downtime to study the team more from afar, Fournier affirmed he had been, but emphasized the import of getting in reps with his new team in person. “I was watching the games,” he explained.
“Some days, I fell asleep earlier because I was really tired. But it’s not necessarily about about knowing the plays and all that; it’s more about getting used to playing with guys and knowing their tendencies and just being out there.”
“For me, that’s really important,” Fournier emphasized. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1386055129544105985?s=20
If Boston is going to make a serious postseason run, they’ll need to have their entire team working together more closely trusting one another and knowing that the players on the court with them know the system and where to be in it at any given moment. And in a season with little room for practicing, sometimes that learning has to take place in-game, tired and just trying to keep up. But the payoff could be a big one if they can find that unity in the regular season’s stretch run. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=49445,49443,49432,49395] [listicle id=49449]