First impressions: Monday's practice
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Five quick observations after the Boston Celtics practiced Monday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:
- Hamstring KO's JO: Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal sat out both Saturday's practice in Newport and Monday's session in Waltham with a tight left hamstring. He said he tweaked it at the end of practice Friday after collecting a rebound over Shaquille O'Neal. "I boxed him out, got the rebound, and I went to turn and run up the court, that's when I felt a little burning sensation. If it was serious, I wouldn't be able to walk around and do the stuff that I'm doing. We're just making sure that I'm ready on Oct. 26." Celtics coach Doc Rivers indicated he'll likely sit Jermaine O'Neal all week (which would mean both exhibition games) to allow ample time for recovery, but O'Neal called the injury, "minor," and preferred to call his absence, "day-to-day."
- Spasms sideline D-West, too: Celtics guard Delonte West did not participate in Monday's session due to back spasms. West, who was at the gym during the practice session, is not expected to be out long. "Delonte will be back soon," said Rivers. "Maybe tomorrow or maybe a couple more days."
- Injuries mean extra work for Wafer, Erden: The silver lining to Boston's injured players is that Semih Erden got additional time with the second unit, while Von Wafer bumped up to run with the reserves, as well. That's a spot Wafer is likely to occupy at season's start with West suspended for the first 10 games of the season. Wafer did admit his battle for that final spot on the Celtics' roster is a "dogfight," but said he's working hard to get his legs under him and find that shooting touch the team brought him in to provide.
- Youngsters put in extra work: As the practice court cleared Monday, the youngest players were the ones still shooting. Erden put in extended time going 1-on-1 with new big man coach Roy Rogers; Mario West and Stephane Lasme worked together on shooting drills; Von Wafer put up 3-pointers at one end of the court, while Avery Bradley did the same at the other.
- Turkey talk: After being waived by the Celtics on Saturday, Tony Gaffney inked a contract with Turk Telekom of the Turkish Basketball League. It's the same league that Celtics rookie Semih Erden played for in recent years (he led Fenerbahce Ulker to the league title). Telekom went 18-12 last season, finishing fifth overall before being bounced in the first round of the postseason. Games start in two weeks for Telekom.
Play Podcast The ESPN Boston High School football crew previews the 2014 high school football season.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates covers expectations for Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' outlook, LeSean McCoy's injury and Alex Smith's contract negotiations with the Chiefs.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Justin Havens discuss how teams that made major deals have fared since the deadline. Plus, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the strange circumstances caused by weather.