MIAMI -- Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green joked that his left elbow is "still attached" after an awkward landing forced him from Friday's game against the Miami Heat early in the fourth quarter and downplayed the severity of the injury while noting he should be able to play Saturday night in Orlando.
"Any time you hit a nerve, it feels numb down the whole arm," said Green. "And it wouldn’t come back as fast I wanted to, because we were still playing. But I’m fine."
Green spilled hard to the floor after a powerful driving dunk -- one of three on the night -- with 10:03 to play in the fourth quarter and, falling backward on the baseline, his elbow took the brunt of the tumble. He was wincing in pain on the bench as trainer Ed Lacerte put a shooting sleeve over the injury, but Green soon retreated to the locker room and did not return.
Green finished with a team-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds and two assists over 36:25.
"Birdman [Chris Andersen], he tried to run off [and] I felt his feet undercut mine," explained Green. "I know it wasn’t on purpose. It was just something, it was the first thing that hit. I’m cool, man."
Green, who was coming off consecutive tough shooting nights, was aggressive going at the hoop for much of the night (five of his seven misses came beyond the 3-point arc). On a night where the Celtics gave Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce rest for their sore ankles, getting Green back on track -- despite the injury scare -- was one of the biggest positives of the night.
"I thought Jeff was great. I really did," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I thought he attacked early on. I thought they did a good job, after that, of clogging it up. I thought Jeff made plays and we missed shots and the more we missed, the more they could clog it up to take away his drives. I couldn’t have been happier with the first half of Jeff. That was terrific. And their adjustment was pack it in and make guys make shots, and we couldn’t make them for a while."
Jason Terry got tagged with his fourth technical foul of the season in the fourth quarter Friday and playfully expressed dismay with the call.
"[The referee] said I showed him up. My wife’s going to be mad at me," Terry joked about the $2,000 fine for each technical. "I think you get a delay of game warning in that situation. That’s what I was going for, but it didn’t turn out that way, so I got a tech."
Terry smiled when asked about his tech total this season.
"I don’t get many, but it’s just how it is," he said. "Won’t be any more."
ROAD FOR RONDO?
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo dropped in on a couple Celtics home games after returning to the area following his initial Florida-based rehab from the ACL surgery he underwent in February. Rivers was asked if he has a preference on whether Rondo travels with the team in the postseason.
"I could care less," said Rivers. "I think he may [travel] some. You know how I am with that: I don’t care about that stuff. I think that guy, whoever it is –- Kevin [Garnett] when he was injured [during the 2009 playoffs] –- I think they have to be comfortable in whatever they’re doing. And their job is to get healthy, even though it’s for next year.
"To me, that’s where their focus needs to stay –- not traveling with us and getting behind. Rondo is on a tight schedule to get back for next year. I don’t need him traveling with us and getting off that schedule."
The Celtics have eyed an aggressive nine-month timetable for Rondo's return, hoping their All-Star point guard will be ready for training camp in October. There's optimism that, with Rondo sustaining only a partial ACL tear and no other ligament damage when it occurred in late January -- and Rondo's own personal motivation to get back quickly -- that he'll be able to meet that timeline. As the rehab of Chicago's Derrick Rose shows, however, every recovery is different and Rose isn't ready to return yet despite being nearly a full year removed from his ACL injury.
PRAISE FOR RAY
Rivers might not have loved Ray Allen's decision to join the rival Heat last summer, but it hasn't stopped him from heaping praise on his former player. Asked if he had caught a recent fourth-quarter explosion by Allen, Rivers said he didn't need to.
"I’ve seen it [before]," said Rivers. "Ray’s amazing, he really is. I’m sure at times you guys have thought, ‘Man, I don’t know if Ray still has it.’ No, he still has it. He always has it in the fourth quarter. He made so many big shots for us, you could make the case he was horrible through the game, and yet we still -- I was dumb enough at times to draw up the play for him, because I just thought he’d still make it. And he did."
Allen was his typically efficient self during Friday's game, scoring 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting (making three trifectas) over 24:48.
"He’s an amazing guy that way; he has great mental toughness," said Rivers. "I think shooters, you don’t put that tag on them, about them being mentally tough, because it’s [typically] a physical guy. I think great shooters like that are as tough as anyone in the league. They don’t believe their eyes. They can miss 13 in a row and they don’t literally believe that they are missing shots. I don’t know where they go. I missed one shot and I was done for the day, and then [former Hawks coach] Mike Fratello would bench me."