Pregame: Rivers on Darko departure
BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed disappointment in the departure of center Darko Milicic, but admitted it was a bit of an unemotional separation because the team never got a chance to tap into his potential.
The Celtics waived Milicic on Wednesday after he requested his release in order to remain home with his ill mother in Serbia. The family issues, coupled with a nonexistent role with Boston through 10 games this season, encouraged the 10-year veteran to step away from the NBA.
"It’s pretty much unemotional because you never got a chance," said Rivers. "I’d liked to have had that opportunity, I thought we were building him. But you know how I feel about all the other stuff outside of basketball, I think that’s more important."
Rivers reaffirmed that the Celtics are in no rush to fill the roster spot and the team plans to leave rookie center Fab Melo in the D-League in order to get game reps (he can always be recalled in emergency situations, but the Celtics have deep depth with Jason Collins having played sparingly this season).
"I haven’t talked to [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge]," said Rivers. "Danny’s out looking at college players, so that tells you how much of an urgency [filling the roster spot is] for us right now. We’re not thinking about it at all; we haven’t talked about it at all."
Rivers was asked how captain Paul Pierce is feeling after tweaking his ankle in Detroit on Sunday and retreating to the locker room with 98 seconds to play. Rivers playfully downplayed the severity.
"Did he sprain his ankle? No, we call that the ‘ankle sprain because we may practice tomorrow’ injury," said Rivers. "You know what I’m saying? That’s what I thought it was, but he actually did. When he actually did sprain his ankle, I honestly thought, 'This is the I-can’t-practice-tomorrow injury coming up.' And it actually happened to be an ankle. But he’s OK."
Rivers was asked for his thoughts on Grinnell College's Jack Taylor, who scored 138 points in a Division III college game on Tuesday.
"I can’t even imagine," said Rivers. "I’m sure that I’ve been on a team that’s got [138 points] -- maybe. That’s a hell of an outing. I couldn’t do that in a gym by myself."
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