With Celtics inching closer to full strength, time is now to close gap in East

(Adam Richins/Boston Sports Journal)

Slowly but surely, the Celtics are getting closer to full strength for the first time in months. Kyrie Irving (eyes), Marcus Morris (neck) and Rob Williams (groin) all went through a full practice on Sunday afternoon and Irving has been fully cleared to return to action after missing the past two games with eye inflammation.

“They’re ok,” Irving said of his eyes. “Right eye had a scratch in it, left is just really inflamed, so just kind of waiting for it to kind of calm down. It’s going to take time, but I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

Irving noted that it was a vision issue more than a pain problem that kept the All-Star sidelined against the Timberwolves and Mavericks.

“Mainly visual, yeah. I make my living with my eyes. My whole entire body, but my eyes are just one of the most important things that I need to play this game," he said. "It was swollen, and there was light sensitivity after the initial hit. Watched it a few times, trying to figure out whether or not it was malicious or not, but I don’t think it was. So I’ll let it go. But I got hit pretty good, and I’m just glad to get a few days rest, as well,” he said.

The injury news is almost just as good for Morris, who was dealing with a neck issue suffered in Wednesday’s win over the Wolves.

"It's a lot better,” Morris said of the neck. “I've been working on it the last three days. Motion's better. Feels good."

The team has listed him as probable for Monday’s game against the Nets, which would put the starting five back at full strength for the first time in a week.

Meanwhile, the C’s are closer to adding some big man depth back to the lineup as well. Williams is getting closer to action after suffering a groin injury two weeks ago in Texas. The team has listed him as questionable for the Nets game after six straight missed contests.

“Feeling good, trying to get myself right mentally, sitting out as much as I’ve been sitting out my rookie year, but just putting all my trust into the trainers hoping they get me back in good time and speed,” Williams explained.

Those recoveries leave Aron Baynes as the only Celtic who's expected to be on the mend past this week. However, three weeks after suffering his broken hand and undergoing surgery, he’s approaching the tail end of his recovery timetable.

“He does shooting on his own, conditioning on the bike, all that stuff,” Brad Stevens said. “He hasn't engaged in any team drills or anything like that. I think he goes back to the doctor tomorrow or Tuesday, to get it re-evaluated and get a better idea of his timeline.”

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