WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Celtics looked like they were playing a game of musical shirts as they closed practice Friday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint.
The team ran through offensive sets, receive instruction from coach Doc Rivers and his staff, then immediately changed their double-sided jerseys to form a new lineup.
With three starters sidelined for Saturday's game against the Raptors in Kevin Garnett (right knee), Rajon Rondo (left hamstring), and Paul Pierce (right knee), the slumping Celtics needed to experiment with potential lineups to ensure continuity -- something they lacked mightily in Wednesday's third straight loss to the Suns.
"We went two hours today, which is a long practice for us," said Rivers. "A lot of it was skeleton, but we went over every single [offensive] set with all different crazy lineups because we might have those [Saturday] and we have to have some semblance of offense, at least some continuity."
Players flipped back and forth from green (starters) and white (bench), but the most common green lineup (pictured here) featured J.R. Giddens, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace, and Kendrick Perkins. Those five are projected to start Saturday's game against Toronto.
Perkins confirmed he had plans to talk to NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations (and league disciplinarian) Stu Jackson Friday. With 10 technical fouls, the most in the league, Perkins was hoping to have his most recent two rescinded. He expressed confidence they would after a confab with Jackson.
Perkins spent some extra time at the free-throw line following Friday's session, working with assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, after some struggles at the charity stripe out West. Boston's center thought the practice offered a good chance for everybody to get back to basics.
"I think we needed [practice]," said Perkins. "Some of the younger guys needed the reps, including myself, just to kinda get the offense down pat, and go over the defensive schemes."
Baby's getting old
Celtics forward Glen Davis celebrated his 24th birthday Friday and, battling thumb and ankle injuries, he joked he's clearly getting old.
Despite lingering pain from his surgically repaired right thumb and nursing a mild right ankle sprain suffered in Monday's loss to Golden State, Davis engaged in all of Friday's practice session and said he would play in Saturday's game against Toronto.
"We need some help and we need as many bodies as we can," said Davis. "As long as I can function, I can play with the pain. That's how it is."
Davis indicated his thumb was more the issue than the ankle that forced him to miss Wednesday's game against Phoenix. He's still strengthening the ligament after fracturing the thumb in an off-court incident before the start of the season.
Regardless, Davis plans to play through all the pain. Rivers noted that, barring any swelling in the ankle after going through Friday's session, Davis will see plenty of court time Saturday.
Rondo sat out Friday's session (pictured here) with a sore left hamstring, keeping his left leg elevated while watching the practice from the sideline.
Rivers initially praised his point guard for his effort in Wednesday's loss to the Suns, but changed his tune after watching the game film.
"I thought he didn't move well," said Rivers. "He got through the game and played fantastic in some ways, but he took a lot of shortcuts because of injury. To me, if you play that way, it hurts him, and it hurts us, too. I'd rather get him back to being normal Rondo.
"Obviously, we have this game and then a three-day break. If he doesn't play [Saturday], then we have three more days to get him to 100 percent. I don't want this to linger. I actually lied [Wednesday]; I thought he played a lot better than he did on film. That's why you watch the game again."
No timetable on KG
Rivers stressed that, while there's no exact date for Garnett's return, that doesn't mean the injury is any more serious than the team is letting on.
"It won't be that long," said Rivers. "When I did this, I looked at the schedule and the days off, and I thought this was the time to do it."
It wasn't pre-planned, but when Garnett got kicked in his knee -- which Rivers said actually happened twice in losses to the Warriors and Clippers -- he decided to give Garnett a break.
"It's a freak accident," said Rivers. "Kevin's just as frustrated as anybody; hyperextended his knee on a play that happened in two different games. It's virtually impossible. Both times he got off his feet and someone kicked his leg… It's not a serious injury, but if you don't take care of it, especially in Kevin's case, he'll compensate and then injure himself. I'm not taking that chance."
Rivers noted his personal New Year's resolution for 2010 was to lose weight. But he's not going to challenge Charles Barkley to a slimdown.
"I talked to Barkley, but we can't have a contest," said Rivers. "That wouldn't be fair. He could lose a lot more than me."
WNBA superstar Candace Parker, wife of Celtics forward Shelden Williams, spent some time working out at the Celtics' practice facility following Friday's session. While Cleveland's LeBron James doesn't think women will play in the NBA in the next decade, the Celtics sure are thin on bodies right now and could probably use the 6-foot-4 Parker, who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game for the LA Sparks in 2009.