BOSTON — Jazz guard Earl Watson was not ready to play Wednesday night, but he's getting close.
Watson spent Tuesday in California as he tries to complete his comeback from April's arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. He worked out in Santa Barbara, spent an hour in Los Angeles and took a red-eye to Boston. Though he was cleared to play by a doctor in California, Watson said he wasn't ready to play.
"Basketball is a unique game," Watson said. "You can be physically ready, but there's no such thing as game-ready. The only thing left for me to do is get game-ready."
On Wednesday, still recovering from the long flight, getting game-ready entailed being the first Jazz player on the court at TD Garden arena. With a pair of Celtics ballboys rebounding for him, Watson worked up a sweat for more than an hour in his gray Jazz T-shirt.
It wasn't game speed nor was it strenuous, as Watson mostly worked around the perimeter, trying to get the feel back in his jump shot.
At least he's back on the court. Watson said he didn't know when he might get to test his knee in a game.
"It's difficult," Watson said. "I'm taking it day by day. I don't want to put a date on it, because my date might be different from the coaches' date, and I don't know what they are thinking."
SHOW JEFFERSON THE BENJAMINS: Jazz big man Al Jefferson is still a popular figure in Boston, where he started his career and spent three seasons. Before Wednesday's game with the Celtics, a crowd of 10 Boston reporters circled around Jefferson and asked him contract questions, since Jefferson is in the final year of his contract with the Jazz.
Unasked was if Jefferson was thinking about coming back to the Celtics.Comment on this story
"I just want to be in the NBA. That's the blessing," Jefferson said. "I want to be in Utah to be honest with you. They do everything first class. But they're going to do what's best for their team and I've gotta do what's best for my family."
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, JOIN 'EM: Jefferson has never beaten the Celtics in nine tries. Five of those losses came when Jefferson played with the hapless Timberwolves.
The Jazz entered Wednesday on a four-game losing streak in Boston against the Celtics, losing by an average of 16.0 points.