Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte tends to Courtney Lee earlier this season.BOSTON -- Boston Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte received the 2011-12 Joe O'Toole Athletic Trainer of the Year award presented by the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association during halftime of Wednesday's double-overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Lacerte, now in his 26th season with the Celtics, is Doc Rivers' right-hand man when it comes to injuries (Rivers loves to joke that "Doc" is just a nickname), and Lacerte's efforts are not lost on Boston's head coach.
"Eddie is probably the hardest-working man in the league right now with some of our guys," said Rivers. "He’s here all night. So I’m very proud of him."
Lacerte is an integral part of keeping Boston's players upright, including Kevin Garnett, who goes through lengthy pregame and postgame treatment sessions.
"Eddie's good people, man," said Garnett. "He's been in this league countless years and it's good to see. With the vets and some guys like [media relations czar] Jeff Twiss and [team massage therapist] Vladimir Schulman and Ed Lacerte, it's good to see those guys get some recognition. Because those are the guys who have helped build this league, been in this league, and you never hear about the old-timers who help create some of the foundation in an organization, so it's good to get some recognition for that. Congrats to Ed Lacerte, man."
This is the second time Lacerte, a trainer on the original Dream Team, has won the O'Toole award. Celtics captain Paul Pierce suggested he was well on his way to being in the mix again this season.
"Ed is one of the better trainers in all of sports," said Pierce. "The way he comes in, he’s here night in and night out. He’s done a great job this year, we haven’t had that many injuries, so he deserves it."
Rivers joked that one of the perks of Lacerte's job is being a fly on the wall, particularly the way Boston players gravitate toward the trainer's room before and after games.
"I think if you got all of the trainers in the league to write a book, if they changed the names, it would be terrific," said Rivers.