BOSTON — Despite his best efforts to keep the wound on his right hand protected Saturday, Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown said the cut reopened during Game 1 of his team’s opening-round win over the Atlanta Hawks, adding to the discomfort he had anticipated feeling while playing.
“Split open during the game,” Brown said of the gash between his index and middle fingers which caused him to miss the final two games of the regular season, “but it’s fine now.”
When asked if he thought the cut — which had required several stitches before they were removed Thursday — might need to be restitched, Brown simply said he’ll have his hand re-evaluated Sunday.
“I think it’s going to be alright,” he added.
Brown played like the injury was a non-factor. In 37 minutes, he scored a game-high 29 points and added 12 rebounds. One of Brown’s most emphatic buckets was a wide-open, two-hand dunk in the first half.
He was a spark on the defensive end of the floor, too, intercepting a Hawks pass in the game’s opening seconds. Brown’s teammates and coaches said that early steal set a tone that propelled the Celtics to their 30-point halftime lead, ahead of the eventual 112-99 win.
“He came out aggressive,” Celtics forward Jayson Tatum said. “He looked like he looked fine and played really well.”
Added head coach Joe Mazzulla: “Thought his shot selection was good. Thought he was intentional on the defensive end.”
Brown’s performance came nine days after he said he cut the hand while picking up a flower vase he had broken.
He practiced Thursday and Friday for the first time since the injury and told reporters then that he expected some difficulty while determining how best to manage the pain. He also felt challenged figuring out which combination of bandages, wraps and paddings would work best for protecting the injury, while also allowing him to play well.
“It’s a constant adjustment, making sure I have a good grip on the ball,” Brown said.
That grip was a concern, Brown said, highlighting his game-high six turnovers.
“I definitely got to clean that up,” he said.
Often early in the first quarter, Brown could be seen looking down at his hand or readjusting the padding he was wearing on it. He typically did that right after attempting a shot, whether it was successful or not.
Then, about eight minutes into the game when he was pulled for a substitute, Brown walked straight toward the tunnel to go into the Celtics’ locker room. According to Mazzulla, Brown was having his bandage changed.
After he returned to the floor, Brown scored 23 of his 29 points.
“There’s not a lot of padding on it, so it’s just a different feel shooting the ball,” Brown said. “[The pain] is fine. Especially with the adrenaline of the game, you kind of just get going.”
Source : ESPN