Boston’s rise to the top seed in the Eastern Conference was fueled by good health for their young talent as well as their established stars. They finished tied for ninth in the league in total games lost, their second straight top-10 finish. Despite the regular season success, the Celtics quest for the team’s 18th championship was derailed by a significant hip injury for point guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas aggravated a torn hip labrum in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals in what would ultimately be his final game in a Boston jersey.
The addition of All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were the highlights in a busy offseason that resulted in a major roster makeover. The changes carried over onto the medical staff as the team parted ways with Ed Lacerte, the longest tenured athletic trainer in franchise history, and strength coach Bryan Doo. Former Hawks athletic trainer Art Horne was brought in as Lacerte’s replacement and will look to replicate the success he had in 2015-16 when he helped lead the Atlanta medical team to a top-5 finish in games lost.
Horne will have his hands full managing the health of Irving, a talented player who has at times shown a propensity for injury. Irving has suffered an assortment of injuries throughout his professional career, including a 5th metacarpal fracture, a fractured index finger, and a patella fracture. Fortunately, Irving is coming off one of the healthiest season of his young career and should thrive in head coach Brad Stevens’ system. As a result, Boston has a chance to make noise in the Eastern Conference if the on-court product can gel while the reloaded training staff integrates its new approach.