With the addition of veterans Delonte West, Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal, this was coach Doc Rivers' take on Boston's bench in the preseason:
"It's important that we have a deeper rotation [this season], it's better for the playoffs. We'll probably shorten for the playoffs, but to get there, we really need a bench. And we need a great bench. For us to have an honest chance of winning this whole thing, our bench has to be huge during the regular season. They're going to have to win games for us some nights."
On Monday, Rivers watched his team limp through a practice session with only 11 available bodies. In the back room, West was prepping for surgery on his broken right wrist, which will sideline him indefinitely; Jermaine O'Neal was getting treatment on a sore left knee that has yet to show signs of allowing him to get back on the court; and Kendrick Perkins was swimming laps in the pool as he rehabs from offseason ACL surgery.
On the court, point guard Rajon Rondo could rarely rest in 5-on-5 drills despite just getting over a sore left hamstring and battling plantar fasciitis in his feet, while rookie center Semih Erden gutted out another practice with an ailing left shoulder that Rivers openly admits will eventually require surgery.
And this is Rivers' outlook on bench play now:
"You come into the year with a plan, and you've got to change the plan sometimes. That's something we're doing as a staff too. The 10-man unit is not going to work right now. It just can't. We went into the year, and I told you, I believe it's really important for us to have [a deep rotation] because it allows us to get rest. But with injuries, it's unrealistic."
Click HERE to read the full story.
Play Podcast Patriots RB Shane Vereen shares his thoughts about his wrist injury, his role in the Patriots' attack, the jelling of New England's offense and more.
Play Podcast Two-time World Series champion Johnny Damon dishes on Jacoby Ellsbury's decision to sign with the Yankees, what moving from Boston to New York is like and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards weighs in on how to beat the Seahawks, Bill Belichick's comments about replay, the playoff picture, Mike Tomlin's apology and more.
Play Podcast Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski weighs in on the state of New England's offense, Antonio Smith's controversial comments, illegal hits, his health and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer weighs in on Geno Smith's struggles, how much responsibility for the Jets' problems falls on Rex Ryan, the Patriots' defense, the Saints' challenges on the road and more.