Jae Crowder's ankle is a problem again - what's the solution?

Jae Crowder isn't out of the woods just yet.

Once again, Crowder's ankle was a problem for him, flaring up and ultimately causing him to take himself out of the game in the fourth quarter of last night's victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Crowder, who has only played two games since missing eight in the stretch since he hurt the ankle on November 2nd, is taking a cautious-if-optimistic approach to the injury and his playing time in the near future, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett:

"I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to get treatment before I fly (to New York). I’m leaving it in the hands of my body. When it tells me I can’t go, I’ve got to listen to it ... I could sit out two months and feel nothing, but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do at this point ... I’m just doing what I’ve got to do to get it to where I don’t feel nothing in my ankle again ... I still feel discomfort in my ankle, so I’ll just try to play through it. If (the pain) doesn’t slow down or doesn’t decrease, I’ll sit out a few more games. But as of now we’re just going to try to play through it."

Is this the right decision? Crowder attempted to come back early last year after a similar ankle sprain, and was noticeably worse for the remainder of the season. Granted, much was made of the momentum Boston had up to that point, and clearly a player with Jae's passion wanted to keep it going, but as we all know, it made little difference in the playoffs.

It's a complicated situation - we should always respect player's decisions about their body, but there's a strong argument both here and in general to err on the side of caution. Rushing back before healing is complete can have significant short and long-term effects on a player's production, and can put the player at risk for chronic re-injury. For Crowder, who has a history of these injuries, it represents a significant risk, and could end up costing the team his presence later in the season.

Should he just get the rest he needs, and come back, like Al Horford, at 100% (that seemed to go pretty well, eh)? Should he only play limited minutes? Or in games we'd need him to win? Or only games we should easily win? There's lots of ways Brad Stevens could use him carefully, but ultimately that decision will come down to Jae and the medical staff, as it should.

What do you think Crowder should do about his ankle? Sit and heal? Play a little? If so, when and how? Let us know in the comments.

For more on Jae Crowder on CelticsLife, click here. For more articles by Justin, click here.

Crowder photo via www.boston.com
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