Crowder signs, says knee ‘100 percent'


WALTHAM -- Jae Crowder had played himself into a serious role with the Boston Celtics last season, and the thought was that he also played himself into a serious contract this summer.

But in Game 4 of the NBA's first round, Crowder went down with an ugly knee injury and did not return to the game.

The timing couldn't have been worse for Crowder, and the wait to hear the results from the MRI undoubtedly felt like it took a lifetime.

But the wait was worth it.

Crowder got the news he wanted: nothing was torn. It turned out he had a sprained left ACL and a bone bruise.

"It was scary because of the timing, and me being in my contract year," Crowder said. "Going into this summer, I didn’t want anything to be torn. So right after that game, I remember going to get the MRI and everything was great. That was great news that day. I knew I was good. You guys didn’t know, of course. But I knew. I knew I was good. And [Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge] and everybody knew. That was a close call, but it worked out."

Exactly three months later, Crowder officially signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Celtics, a deal that was announced minutes before he and the rest of the C's offseason acquisitions took to the podium to officially be introduced as Celtics.

And when Crowder walked up onto that podium, he did so with a knee that was, in his own words, 100 percent.

"I did some rehab. I did rehab. I still do," Crowder said. "I still take precautionary rehab testing stuff. But I feel 100 percent. I could play tomorrow if I wanted. I still do little stuff just to make sure that it doesn’t come back later on and linger or anything like that. Right now I feel 100 percent."

The Celtics clearly aren't concerned about any lingering issues or they wouldn't have signed him to the five-year deal. Crowder's health will be of huge importance going forward, as Ainge has made it clear that he'll be a big part of this team.

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