- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BOSTON — After Markieff Morris took a round of jump shots late in shootaround Tuesday, he flexed his left foot while he spoke with trainers. The group has been working on Morris‘ sprained left ankle since he landed on Al Horford’s foot in the second quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.

Morris still expects to play Tuesday night. He participated in a portion of shootaround, then did his individual work.

“Talked to my coaches, game-time decision,” Morris said. “Me personally, it’s sore, but I feel like I can push through it.”

Morris noted that there is a strong difference between taking shots in the morning at shootaround and the boost adrenaline provides once a playoff game starts. He thinks the latter will provide an extra salve if he is able to get on the floor.

“Me out here shooting with a little bit of pain won’t be the same as playing the game when my adrenaline is at 100,” Morris said.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks continued to use a cautionary tone when discussing Morris. Monday, Brooks made Morris‘ chances of playing sound very low. Tuesday, he lightened that tone a bit.

“He’s going to try to do some things before the game, before we make a decision,” Brooks said. “Don’t know. I wish I could tell you now. I really don’t know. One thing I do know, when he did hurt himself it looked pretty bad. As a coach, as a former player, you don’t like to look at those injuries.”

Morris is known for his rough-and-tumble nature on the floor. Brooks is aware of his temperament and his comments from Monday that a doctor is not going to decide whether he plays Tuesday night in Game 2.

“I know every competitive athlete wants to be out there with their team, it’s the playoffs, we’re down 1-0, but with all that being said, we’re going to do what’s best for him long-term,” Brooks said. “If he can play tonight, and feel comfortable along with our medical staff and myself, he will play. If not, he’s not going to play no matter how many times he punches me in the face. It’s not going to happen. He is pretty intimidating. But, I’m not going to allow him to intimidate me that he wants to play. I’m going to show some toughness there.”

Brooks laughed at the scene he created — the Wizards coach, black eye under his stylized glasses on the sideline — then explained how happy he was that Morris was trying to push his way onto the floor.

When told of the prospective pugilism, Morris smirked. He conceded that there are two forces that could tell him he was not playing Tuesday. One was Brooks. The other was his mom. His mom thinks he can play.

 

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