Pregame notes: Health reversal
After all the concern about available bodies, the Celtics enter Wednesday's game expecting to have their typical 12 bodies available, including point guard Rajon Rondo, who returns to the starting lineup after sitting out Sunday's game in New Jersey with a sore left hamstring.
Center Shaquille O'Neal (calf) is also in the starting lineup after sitting out the second half of Sunday's game, while top frontcourt reserve Glen Davis (flu) said he's ready to go with his fever down from the past two days. Nate Robinson, who was away from the team Tuesday due to a family matter, is also in uniform for Wednesday's game.
On the other side of the court, it's not as encouraging news, as Denver superstar Carmelo Anthony will sit out due to right knee inflammation.
"We’re good, Rondo will play, Baby will play, Shaq will play," said Rivers. "I told you that the other game and two of them didn’t play. But, no, I think they’ll all play, I think we’re pretty good."
Just a day after noting that the Celtics had considered sitting Rondo for a short period of time in order to get him back to full health, Rivers said team trainer Eddie Lacerte deemed him ready to go for Wednesday's game, suggesting the team has no concerns about him aggravating the injury that forced him to miss three other games last month.
"Rondo was more of a rest issue [Sunday] to make sure [the hamstring] was OK," said Rivers. "We just got to be careful with it. Listen, if Eddie says he can play, he can play."
Davis looked a little weary in the locker room, but said he'd play.
"We knew [Davis] was going to play tonight," said Rivers. "We just didn’t want him around our guys for the last two days. [Tuesday], he couldn’t have played, he was really sick, 100-and-whatever fever, and [Wednesday] he felt better, but we didn’t want him around us. Obviously, we told him to do whatever you do when you’re sick, drink water, eat. So he’ll play. I don’t know how many minutes he can play; He hasn’t played since the game on Sunday, and hasn’t done anything since that game."
Rivers expressed the most concern about Shaq, but thinks he'll be able to gut out some minutes.
"Shaq’s been great," said Rivers. "Shaq’s 38, he’s going to have injuries. There’s going to be games that he’s great and there’s going to be games where he’s 38, and days where he's 38 and just can’t practice. And we’re good with that.
"I didn’t think Shaq would be ready for tonight, honestly, and we’ll see how much he can go. He would be, of the group, the most surprising [that he's able to play]."
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