- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes from the Celtics' practice Saturday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint.
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"Definitely, I'm going to go Monday," said Wallace. "I've got one more [practice on Sunday] to get under my belt. I'll be fine."
Wallace was a late scratch in Monday's loss to Atlanta and has missed the past three games with a sore left forefoot. But he indicated Saturday that the injury actually occurred long before a win over Toronto last Sunday.
"It happened a while ago, I've been playing on it for two weeks," said Wallace. "The last few minutes in the Toronto game last week -- that sorta did it. [Since then I've had to] sit on it, give it a rest for a week."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that trainer Ed Lacerte indicated that the swelling had gone down in Wallace's foot, which, barring a setback, should allow him to go Monday.
"[Wallace] told me he feels good and says he wants to go through practice [Sunday] and then see how he feels," said Rivers. "Right now, I think he's going to play on Monday."
Rivers said he'll conference with Lacerte again to determine how many minutes Wallace is able to play, but does expect to limit his court time in his first game back.
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett worked out on the exercise bike during Saturday's session and Rivers suggested he's still on pace for a Friday return.
"Let's say he plays the Portland game, and we don't know if he will or not, but if he did play that, that's one game and then we have a practice or so to get him ready for the next one," said Rivers. "That's not a bad rhythm for him."
With the Celtics playing Wednesday night in Detroit and unlikely to practice Thursday, Rivers was asked how exactly Boston plans to get Garnett ready for Friday's game action.
"If he gets the clearance -- if Eddie [Lacerte] gives him clearance, it's not a practice, but we'll have four guys come in and do the dummy offense on [Thursday], get that in."
Garnett, sidelined with a hyperextended right knee, hasn't practiced or played since being kicked in that surgically-repaired knee in a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 28.
After a period of inactivity, he started working out again on Monday, mostly running, working on the exercise bike, and some light shooting.
Despite coming off a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls and having lost six of their last 10 overall, the Celtics kept it light at Saturday's open session.
After playing four games in five nights, Rivers gave his team a bit of a breather. The team installed one offensive set, then utilized the rest of the session for a skills challenge that featured contests in free throws, 3-point shooting, and slam dunks.
"After watching the tape, I told the guys, I brought them in the locker room and said, 'The last thing we need to do today is practice.' They're exhausted and I don't think one day off [Friday] allows you to get your legs back. Since we have an open practice, I said, 'Let's put a little set in and then let's go have some fun, enjoy the day.'
"Sometimes during the year you have to remember why you play basketball. I thought guys were laughing and joking, and that's good for them today."
The skills challenge (which featured Eddie House topping Pierce in a 3-point shootout that spilled into overtime) culminated with J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker going head-to-head in the dunk contest. With Marquis Daniels and Wallace judging (using dry-erase boards from the sideline), Giddens brought down the house with a between-the-legs, tomahawk jam that helped him prevail.
"The between the legs one? A 10," Kendrick Perkins said when asked to grade Giddens' jam. "That was alright, especially for practice."
Perkins thought it was good for the Celtics to share some laughs after the recent rough patches.
"With some of the older guys we've got, a lot of guys playing a lot of minutes, I think we did need it," said Perkins. "It helped us out a lot. Now we can come back tomorrow and have a good [practice].
"After losses, sometimes guys can be mad at each other a little bit. Sometimes we need a little laughter in the gym, stuff like that. I think that helped us."
Perkins and Daniels stayed on the court after the session to sign autographs. Check out this photo of them greeting fans.
Paul Pierce has reached 40 minutes in four of his six games since returning from a right knee infection and, while he indicated it's not a particular concern given the fact that he's not recovering from any structural damage, Rivers noted that they have to get that number down.
"We don't need that," said Rivers. "I'll play Billy [Walker] or JR, one of them, just to get Paul some more rest. The last couple games, we've had foul trouble, and Paul's had to stay on the floor. I don't mind a couple 40-minute games from our guys, because you know you're going to make it up. In the New Jersey game, he didn't play that many minutes, but we still want to avoid [40-minute games]. If there's two or three in a week, that's too much.
"I think he needed this week. When he came back, the first thing Eddie [Lacerte] said was, 'Listen, he's in playing shape, but the leg needs to get stronger.' It's not surgery, but it is surgery when you do what they did to drain it. He needs this week, this is a good week for him."
Pierce indicated he's fine with the minutes and actually felt like the extra time has indeed helped him strengthen the knee. Given the injuries and illness the Celtics have battled, the captain's not going to say no to court time.
"It's been difficult with the injuries, but Doc's given us a couple days here to rest our legs," said Pierce. "I hope, with some of the guys coming back, that will help us out tremendously, taking down our minutes.
"In my case, [the two surgeries were] due to the infection. It wasn't like there was ligament damage. It's all about spending time in the weight room, getting on the treadmill, strengthening up my quads. Actually, playing in the game, I've gotten stronger, the last four or five games."