STAYING POSITIVE: Celtics’ Kanter tries to remain productive during the NBA shutdown

His daily routine at home includes plenty of physical activity to stay in shape in case the NBA resumes the season this year.

Enes Kanter, in his first year as a backup center with the Celtics, has equipment to work with and checks in with the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

When Kanter is not exercising, he is using the idle time created by the coronavirus pandemic to expand his horizons.

During a conference call with the media on Friday afternoon, Kanter said he is learning how to cook and play the piano since there is no basketball being played.

“We always complain about how busy our schedule is during the season with practice and games,’’ said the 27-year-old Kanter. “I feel like this is the best time to invest in yourself, educate yourself.

“I’ve been trying to do a lot of reading. I’ve been trying to watch a lot of documentaries. I’m actually learning how to cook and how to play the piano. It’s very interesting, but I’m really trying to spend my time on something that I’ve never done before.

“My mom always used to tell me, ‘Learn how to cook, you’re going to need it.’ I’m really trying to focus in how to cook. And I love the piano, so I’m trying to learn how to play.’’

Kanter, a Swiss-born Turk, said he is concentrating on cooking Turkish food and has done kabobs and lamb chops.

The Celtics have not played since a March 10 win over the Indiana Pacers, missing 12 games because the virus forced all sports to be shut down.

There seems to be no end in sight, so it is a distinct possibility the NBA will not be resuming the 2019-20 season. Kanter said that if games are played at some point, players would need two or three weeks to prepare.

“You cannot just say, ‘OK, we’re playing a game a week later,’ ’’ said Kanter, who is averaging a team-leading 7.7 rebounds to go with 8.2 points in 51 games. “Some (players) are doing something, but some people are in their apartment and not doing anything. I say it’s probably two or three weeks to get back on the court.

“We need to do what we do in training camp, making sure everyone’s in good shape so when they go out and play, everybody is 100 percent healthy and in game shape and then we can go out there and compete.’’

Kanter said the Celtics have been monitoring players to check on their workouts each week.

“They gave us some workout stuff so we could do it at home,’’ said Kanter. “The strength coach calls us on FaceTime a couple of times a week and makes sure we’re getting our stuff and staying in shape and not cheating.’’

Kanter and the rest of the Celtics were tested for the coronavirus when they returned from Milwaukee where a March 12 game was postponed.

The players were quarantined for two weeks, and only guard Marcus Smart tested positive for the virus. Smart, who is now free of the virus, sent out a video urging people to stay at home and said this week he will be donating blood to be studied to help speed up the search for a treatment for the illness.

“I knew he was going to beat that because that virus never faced anyone like Marcus Smart,’’ said Kanter. “I know Marcus Smart is a tough one and he was going to beat the virus and he did. It’s so amazing to see how outspoken he is about all this stuff because people need it and he’s a big voice. He’s been through it.’’

The Celtics, who are third in the Eastern Conference, have stayed in touch through video conference calls that include the players and coach Brad Stevens.

“You miss your teammates,’’ said Kanter. “When you play, especially with the Celtics, it’s like your family. It’s like not seeing your family.

“We look forward to the conferences. It’s amazing to see their faces, seeing what they’re doing and having conversations with them. We’re all hoping the season is going to resume one day and we want to keep that chemistry together even when we cannot be with each other. Those have been very productive.’’

jfenton@enterprisenews.com

On Twitter at @JFenton_ent

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