The Boston Celtics returned to the postseason for the second straight year and the seventh time in the past nine seasons. While the majority of the success can be attributed to Coach Brad Stevens and an influx of young talent, it’s the behind the scenes work of a franchise stalwart that has helped keep the organization competitive. Ed Lacerte continues his run as the most tenured athletic trainer in franchise history, entering his 29th season running the Boston medical team. For the third straight year the Celtics lost fewer games to injury than the previous season, finishing the 2015-16 season with 76 games lost. The total was second best in the Eastern Conference and sixth best in the league.
The addition of All-Star forward Al Horford has elevated expectations for the Celtics as many believe this will be the team to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers. In order to do so Lacerte and company will need to maintain their recent run of good health and it starts with managing Kelly Olynyk return from offseason shoulder surgery. Olynyk had surgery on his right shoulder in mid-May after dealing with reoccurring problems throughout the season. The initial recovery timeline was five months though Olynyk has yet to return. Several other players including Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and the newly acquired Horford have notable injuries in their past that will require regular maintenance as well. Rest assured if Boston is going to make the step from playoff team to contender, the work of Lacerate and his staff will play a large part.