WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Thursday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:
An MRI on his ailing left knee came back negative, but Celtics reserve forward/center Glen Davis will sit out as much as a week while battling what the team has dubbed a strained patella tendon.
Davis revealed he's been playing through pain since as far back as last season, but had appeared in all 59 games of the 2010-11 season. The pain escalated while completing a two-handed jam in the final minute of Wednesday's win over the Phoenix Suns, forcing Davis to shut it down for a few days.
"It's sore; It's really sore, but I'll be okay," said Davis, noting he'll sit anywhere from three to seven days. If it's like most injuries this season, the Celtics won't rush him back, particularly after adding a pair of power forwards in recent days in Jeff Green and Troy Murphy.
Davis said he'll simply ice the knee each day and continue to work out as able to stay in playing shape. He said he's slightly relieved that there's no further damage to the knee, but the condition has worsened recently and he knows it's critical to get himself right before the postseason.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said it's been Davis' ability to play through the pain lately that's impressed him the most.
"If you ask me, the No. 1 quality to a great player in the NBA is availability," said Rivers. "You look at the great ones, they're always available. Baby's done a great job, really. They all have a higher pain threshold and they're all able to block it out and play. Baby's been able to do that this year and that's a big step for him."
--THE REST OF THE MASH UNIT--
Celtics guard Ray Allen received a maintenance day Thursday after telling coach Doc Rivers that his legs were feeling sore. He came to the practice facility and was spotted walking through the gym with trainer Ed Lacerte before the team's on-court session, but Rivers did not sound concerned about his 35-year-old shooting guard.
"It was his day [to rest]," said Rivers. "I told him to go to the [driving] range, hit some balls. But whenever someone complains about anything -- and ray said his legs were sore -- so that was on me, I said, 'Alright, it's your day.'"
Center Shaquille O'Neal took part in non-contact skeleton drills at the beginning of practice as he recovers from an inflamed right Achilles. He came back onto the court briefly after the session and did look slightly slimmed down after sitting out the past 11 games. O'Neal has not appeared in a game since Feb. 1. Rivers had said Wednesday he hopes to have O'Neal back by next week.
Guard Delonte West observed the session from the sideline while recovering from a freak right ankle sprain suffered in skeleton drills during an informal practice session with the team's new players on Sunday. Rivers said West will not play in Friday's game against Golden State or Sunday's visit to Milwaukee, but should be back on the court next week.
Troy Murphy offered positive reviews after his first true practice session with Boston after being signed Wednesday (and thrust right into the fire against the Phoenix Suns).
"It was great," said Murphy. "[I'm] just trying to still get into it, remember the plays, everything like that, but [it was] very competitive, it's a lot of fun."
Murphy and all the newest faces were held on the court after the session to log extra time learning sets, particularly on the defensive end with assistant Lawrence Frank.
"They're going to [do extra work] today, then we're bringing this group in tomorrow by themselves just to work -- we'll bring them in early before the game to work again and we can't worry about them right now being tired in the game, which they will be," said Rivers. "That's not a problem for us, we just have to get them reps."
--PAVLOVIC JOINS THE TEAM; WILL WEAR NUMBER 77--
Huddling together with the rest of Boston's freshest faces after logging extra time on the court following Thursday's session, newly signed swingman Sasha Pavlovic's brow furrowed as the team chanted "Ubuntu" while breaking the huddle.
"I just learned [about Ubuntu] and they said the rookies are going to explain it to me after practice," said Pavlovic, who will get a crash course in Boston's team-first mentality, maybe the most important thing that new players must grasp. And while he might not be familiar with the term, he sounds ready to buy into the philosophy.
Pavlovic officially inked his free-agent contract Thursday and joined Boston on the floor for his first session. He'll wear No. 77 when he suits up for his first game Friday against the Warriors.
"I was just talking to a couple of teams, but I was happy like never in my life when Boston called," said Pavlovic. "I’m happy to be here. I talked to [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge, I talked to coach [Rivers]. They like me being here. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it.
"I think I can do pretty good defensively, I can shoot open 3’s. I’m just going to keep it simple. There’s a lot of great players on this team, whatever my role is going to be, I’m going to be happy to do it."
Rivers said he was playfully chiding Paul Pierce and Allen about one game against the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple years back in which Pavlovic tore apart the Celtics in isolation sets. Rivers believes Pavlovic is capable of helping this team at both ends of the floor.
"One of things we’ve always liked about him is that he's a competitive defender," said Rivers. "He doesn’t back down from any guys. We think he can fit in well with us. He’s a skilled player as well. I think he’ll fit in that way as well."
Pavlovic said he chose No. 77 due to the limited availability of jerseys numbers in Boston. Not only is he the Celtics' first ever 77, but he's the first Boston player to ever wear a jersey in the 70's.
He said it was hard being on those Cleveland teams that couldn't get past Boston during the postseason in recent years, but doesn't mind joining a former rival.
"It was tough to play them, man," said Pavlovic. "We lost the 2008 playoffs against them. It was always fun to play great teams like this and now it’s honor to play for them."
After playing on a pair of 10-day contracts with New Orleans and Dallas earlier this season, Pavlovic is excited for a some longer-term security on a playoff-bound team. He spent time with West and O'Neal in Cleveland last season and West offered some immediate advice.
"The first thing [West] said was, 'Let's go get this championship,'" said Pavlovic. "It's a good feeling."