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Warriors to tap Rick Celebrini as new sports medicine head

Renowned Canadian physiotherapist to replace Chelsea Lane.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Even when they select supporting staff talent, the Golden State Warriors remain light years ahead.

The Warriors announced that they are finalizing a deal with physiotherapist Rick Celebrini to lead the team’s medical staff. Celebrini will replace the incomparable Chelsea Lane, who left the Warriors after three years to become the Atlanta Hawks’ Executive Director of Athletic Performance and Sports Medicine.

Celebrini spent the last eight years as Head of Sports Medicine and Science for Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps. He also served as the Director of Rehabilitation for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks after serving the team as a consultant.

Prior to the Canucks, Celebrini served as a therapist and consultant to the Mavericks and the Seattle Seahawks. It was Celebrini who worked closely with Steve Nash as he endured spondylolisthesis, a congenital back condition that’s been well know and publicized during his career.

“Rick is a world-class physiotherapist and will play a vital role in helping to sustain the performance level of our players, “ Warriors GM Bob Myers said in a press release. “He has worked closely with a number of elite athletes throughout his career and is a great fit for our organization as we strive to maintain the on-court successes of these past few seasons”

As Patrick Murray of Forbes (and, of course, friend of the site) noted, that experience with Nash could be a major asset to the Warriors and their star player.

...what’s most interesting about what Nash was able to achieve, was that almost all his greatest success came after he turned 30, a mark just reached by Curry. Indeed Nash won his first MVP in the year he turned 31, and his second as he turned 32. Three of those 50-40-90 seasons came between ages 33-35. At age 35 he led the Phoenix Suns to the Western Conference Finals, equalling the furthest they had been in the playoffs, and he was still playing at an All-Star level at the age of 37...If he can help Curry maintain his physical conditioning and reach the heights that Nash managed deep into his 30s, Warriors fans could be in for a treat.

Murray elaborated on that point last year here at GSoM, looking directly at Nash’s statistics from ages 29 to 37 and writing about the significance of Nash joining the Warriors’ coaching staff.

In a frightening development for the rest of the league, Curry’s trainer says he’s still getting better. While that sounds crazy I recall when they added Nash to the coaching staff after Curry’s first MVP season thinking how much better can he get? Then came his unanimous MVP season...So if Curry can pick up some tips from Nash on staying healthy over the long haul, we could be in for quite a treat.

Instead of just hoping Curry got informal tips from Nash to get through his 30’s, the Warriors just went out and got the expert who helped Nash through his later years in Celebrini.

Beyond his well-documented expertise as a renowned physiotherapist, Celebrini was also a decorated athlete himself. During his five seasons with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, Celebrini won four consecutive Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s soccer championships as a defender.

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