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Pregame notes: Ankles are swell

1/4/2011

BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said both Rajon Rondo (sprained left ankle) and Paul Pierce (sprained right ankle) are feeling fine and will be in the starting lineup Monday night when Boston hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden.

Rondo played Sunday after missing seven games following a severe ankle sprain suffered against the Knicks in mid-December. Rivers said Rondo had no setbacks after nearly 34 minutes of action.

"I think Rondo said he wasn’t as sore as he thought he would be," said Rivers. "But just the mental part of getting through that, it's different. I thought he did a nice job [Sunday], almost played in a conservative way -- or as conservative as Rondo can play."

Pierce, who turned his right ankle on an awkward landing following a late-game fast-break dunk, is also no worse for the wear.

"Paul’s good. I just think he jumped too high on the play [Sunday]," joked Rivers. "He's not used to that any more."

Rivers did say that both players can probably expect to deal with some lingering swelling that might never subside given the grind of the game (particularly this week for Boston).

"I think when you sprain your ankle, it never goes away," said Rivers. "You feel better and you play -- and you play at 100 percent -- but I think there's always some swelling, whoever it is. You sprain your ankle during the season, your ankle is never the same size until after the season."

A couple other pregame quick hits:

* Speaking of sprained ankles, Minnesota guard Jonny Flynn (sprained right ankle) is active for Monday's game against Boston.

* Lots of pregame chatter about Kevin Love and his otherworldly rebounding efforts. The Celtics, who gave up a whopping 19 offensive rebounds against Toronto, are hoping it was an aberration in a season they've shored up their defensive rebounding.

"Let's hope," said Rivers. "We've lost a title over rebounding, as far as I'm concerned. We've put an emphasis on it and we've been very good for the most part. We make teams miss more shots, too, and I don't think people take that into account. We shoot 54 percent, other teams may shoot 40 percent, so they have more offensive rebound opportunities. That's one of the reasons. But we have to stay focused on rebounding, it's something we'll talk about all year as a focus."