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Monday, December 2, 2013
Lee returns to practice; Olynyk still out

By Chris Forsberg

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics reserve guard Courtney Lee participated in Monday's practice and plans to suit up for Tuesday's visit from the Milwaukee Bucks after missing the last two games with a sore left knee.

Lee detailed how he originally tweaked the knee in Charlotte last Monday and tried to play through initial soreness, but finally took himself out of Wednesday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. X-rays and an MRI both were negative, but the soreness lingered and prevented him from getting through his typical pregame routine. After successfully navigating his shooting drills after Monday's practice, Lee deemed himself available for Tuesday's visit from Milwaukee.

"I just finished the whole after-practice shooting," Lee said. "I’ve been trying to do that the last couple days and I couldn’t finish that because my knee would start hurting. ... I’m going to shoot for [playing against Milwaukee]. It’s up to coach [Brad Stevens] if he puts me in or not, but I’m going to go out there and dress."

Lee had been playing well, averaging 7.6 points on 51 percent shooting over 16.9 minutes per game while providing an offensive spark off the bench. He said the concern about his knee outweighed any frustration of his season being interrupted.

"I care about the injury more than however I’m playing," Lee said. "If the injury is serious, then you’re scratched playing. I was more nervous about the injury."

Stevens was encouraged by what he saw out of Lee at Monday's session.

"Courtney Lee went full in practice today, or at least did everything we did," Stevens said. "He sat some, but did everything that we did, live and not."

Did the Celtics miss his presence the last two games?

"We missed his shooting, obviously, because we didn’t shoot it well [Saturday night in Milwaukee]," Stevens said. "But I think whoever is available has got to be ready to play and I trust in the fact that these guys can all step up when their number is called."

Elsewhere on the injury front: Rookie forward/center Kelly Olynyk was on the floor engaging in some light free-throw shooting after practice, but did not participate in the session. Stevens noted that Olynyk's right ankle sprain was on the more severe side and the team won't rush him back. The team initially set a two-week timeframe, which would have had him back around Friday's visit from the Denver Nuggets, but he'll get some additional time to get right.

"Kelly is out and I think that probably still might be a week from what I can tell," Stevens said. "I don’t know the exact timeline on Kelly. It was a significant sprain, so we’re going to be smart and give him appropriate time to come back."

Rajon Rondo, rehabbing from ACL surgery, was on the floor wearing practice gear (including his brace) and engaging in light shooting drills as practice opened to reporters. Stevens stressed that there have been no advancements in his progress.

"Rajon is still out," Stevens said. "He did some practice today, but pretty normal for the last couple of weeks."

Rondo still hasn't gained clearance for full-contact activities, something that likely will require a visit to operating surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

"He’s doing a lot in practice but he hasn’t been cleared for anything above that," Stevens said.