Jae Crowder seems to be over his ankle injury, wants more playing time

Last season, the Celtics lost Jae Crowder to a right ankle sprain, and he was never really the same after. This year, the Celtics forward sprained his left ankle and missed eight games, leaving many concerned that he would again be affected by the injury once he returned to the court.

Four games later, and Crowder's ankle issue doesn't seem to be bothering him. Although it took two games to get his mojo back, Crowder has been sharp in his past two outings against the Nets and Spurs. In those games, he has scored a total of 33 points shooting 13/23 from the field (57%) and 7/16 from downtown (44%) while only logging 50 minutes of playing time. This is awfully encouraging considering how much his ankle sprain lingered his shooting last season.

Crowder rushed his way back onto the floor after his injury last season, and said that he learned to be patient this time around. Hopefully that means his play will not be as hindered from injury as it was last year. He is currently on a minute restriction to ensure that he is gradually eased back into action. This tends to be the best and safest course of action in terms of dealing with bringing back injured players.

At the same time though, Crowder believes his time cap is not good for him since it allows his ankle to stiffen up. Boston Herald's Mark Murphy found out how Crowder not only wanted to be out on the court to win, but also because it actually helped his ankle:

“Around 20 to 25 (minutes). I think I played a little over tonight (28) because I got a little frustrated with it,” Crowder said of his alleged minutes limit. “(The bike keeps) the blood flowing on the ankle. Like the Minnesota game I couldn’t go back into the game because it just locked up on me. I was just sitting on the bench.

“And I just want to do something differently now because I do feel like it’s gradually getting better, but that time when I’m off the court, we just have to do something to keep it going, keep the blood flowing, because it feels good when I’m coming off,” he said. “So that’s just one thing that I’m probably going to do for a little while.”

It was great to see Crowder playing at a high level again, but you have to question whether Brad Stevens should take the leash off quite yet if his ankle is still that bothersome on the sidelines. However, based on his performance from the past two games and the fact that the ankle doesn't seem to be limiting him on the court, maybe Crowder is ready to creep back towards regular playing time.

Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32

Photo via AP Photo/Matt Marton