BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will again be without three starters Friday night when they host the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden as guards Rajon Rondo (right wrist) and Ray Allen (left ankle) and center Jermaine O'Neal (left knee) will not be available. Reserve guard Keyon Dooling (right hip) will also sit out the game, leaving Boston will just 11 available bodies on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Celtics are hopeful to get more bodies back this weekend.
"It's amazing how many guys are out," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I do think that, Sunday, we’ll have more guys back. I don’t know which ones, but it sounds like everyone is really close. But no one’s ready today."
The quick rundown:
* Rondo remains sidelined after landing hard on his right wrist while drawing a flagrant foul against the Raptors. His return has seemed imminent all this week, but Sunday looks like a strong possibility.
* Allen, whose fourth son was born Wednesday afternoon, said he wanted to play Friday, but simply wasn't ready after jamming the ankle Sunday in Washington. He's hoping to get some work in Saturday and be on the floor Sunday against the Cavaliers.
* Dooling injured the hip in the second quarter Thursday in Orlando during his first game back after missing seven straight with a right knee ailment. Rivers said he is "game-to-game."
* O'Neal has a bone bruise on his left knee cap, suffered while absorbing a Hedo Turkoglu charge in Monday's win over the Magic. He said the knee flared up overnight and he didn't aid matters by flying to Orlando the next morning. He sat out both Boston's practice session Wednesday and Thursday's game, but is targeting a return Sunday as well.
"I just need one day to move around, which I’ll probably go work out and do some court stuff tomorrow," said O'Neal. "I’m not going to be 100 percent, [but] I just need to be able to jump, move, slide -- stuff like that. Because, where the bruise is, it’s on the knee cap, which is difficult when you move around. All in all, Sunday’s the day for me to come back and play."
O'Neal said he had no undergone an MRI yet, but was planning to meet with the team doctor Thursday night to determine if one was necessary.