While the Celtics are looking to turn a new leaf this season with free-agent signings Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter, much of the attention during the preseason was focused on undrafted rookie center Tacko Fall.
The 7-foot-6 center out of UCF is already a crowd favorite and has received praise from teammates for his work ethic and humility. But he was unavailable for the Celtics season opener on Wednesday after suffering a concussion.
How he got that concussion, you ask? It wasn’t from anything that happened on the court. Fall blamed a low ceiling for causing the concussion that forced him to miss the opening game of his NBA career.
Fall, whose contract has already been reverted into a two-way deal with Boston and G League affiliate Maine, said the injury happened while he was washing his hands at the Celtics’ practice facility in nearby Brighton, according to MassLive.
Though he didn’t notice the low ceiling at first, he hit his head and did not feel any immediate effects. Fall fully participated in the team’s workout that day but began to feel the effects the following day and was placed into the protocol.
A Crowd Pleaser
Since signing with the Celtics, Fall has become a fan-favorite in Boston. In the team’s first preseason game, Fall entered the court to a standing ovation as if he were the top draft pick.
With the Celtics trailing by three, Fall helped engineer a comeback on both ends of the floor. He recorded a couple of blocks on defense and picked up a pair of dunks on offense that made the Boston crowd go crazy.
In Orlando, fans rained down a chorus of boos on Brad Stevens when he substituted Fall out of the second preseason game. Fall played his college basketball in Orlando and was a fan-favorite down there long before he was on the NBA radar.
Brad Stevens is Encouraged By Fall
Despite the low amount of playing time during the preseason, Brad Stevens was very encouraged by the progress Fall had made since joining the team. But what the Celtics’ coach really wants is for fans to embrace Tacko as a person too.
During a postgame press conference, Stevens echoed that sentiment:
“Tacko is such a gracious guy, and it puts him in such a tough spot, right? He knows he doesn’t want to put extra heat on me. Everybody wants Tacko. My kids are the same way, and everybody else. I think that’s cool, and that’s great, but I just hope people continue to appreciate him for what he is as a person and how hard he’s working to try to make it to the NBA. Because he’s a really good kid and he’s really, really working hard, and I think he’s going to be in the NBA for a long time.”
It might not be immediate, but look for Tacko Fall to suit up in the NBA before the year is over.