On the eve of his potential return to game action, Celtics reserve guard Delonte West tweaked his fractured right wrist at Tuesday's practice and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he will seek X-rays to ensure there's no damage that would detour the team from putting him back out on the floor Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets.
"Delonte practiced, but he didn't get through practice," Rivers said after an hourlong session. "He got hit on the hand, so we'll see [Wednesday]."
Rivers suggested West got hit by a teammate, but a team official said it appeared West might have simply jammed his right hand when a ball hit his fingertips as he defended on the perimeter late in the session. Either way, West departed with team trainer Ed Lacerte and his status for Wednesday remains uncertain.
After sitting out the first 10 games of the season due to suspension, West appeared in only five games before fracturing the wrist while crashing to the ground after a strong drive to the basket on Nov. 24.
"I was worried about [aggravating the injury on Monday] and it happened [Tuesday], so we'll see," said Rivers. "I'm sure we'll do another X-ray to make sure nothing happened."
Rivers admitted the timing was awful, particularly with Boston so battered, but kept his eye on the bigger picture.
"Look you gotta play," said Rivers. "If somebody’s going to hit you, they’re going to hit you. It’s going to happen. It’s basketball."
--SHAQ RETURNS TO THE FLOOR ... SORTA--
As practiced opened to the media, Shaquille O'Neal stood at center court in full practice uniform. One day after expressing concern about how O'Neal and his inflamed right Achilles were healing (or, more importantly, not healing), Rivers said O'Neal was just playing dress up.
"I think he thought it was Halloween; He dressed as Shaq today," quipped Rivers.
O'Neal mingled with families on hand to watch practice from the Make-A-Wish Foundation before disappearing into the trainer's room again for treatment.
On Monday, Rivers expressed caution optimism about O'Neal being ready post-All-Star break.
"Shaq, honestly, [the Achilles is] just not healing right now," said Rivers. "We're hoping after the [All-Star] break at some point, obviously. When he first injured it we all thought it was a one- or two-game thing, and now it's been longer, and now it's getting to the point where we're not sure if he'll play on the west coast trip or not. We're hoping he will. Right now we think he will, maybe not every game, maybe we play him every other game, but if we had to play [Monday], I don't know if Shaq could play [Monday]."
--LOOSE BALLS: KG SAYS DOC'S LIKE COMING HOME TO BIRTHDAY CAKE--
* Kevin Garnett's birthday is still three months away, but he gets a slice of cake every day when he comes to the gym. At least that's how he explained playing for Rivers.
"Playing for Doc is like coming home to a birthday cake, you know?" said Garnett. "Coming home to a birthday cake. Every day it's something. You don't know if it's going to be sprinkles, [but] you know it's going to be sweet. You know it's going to be beautiful. But what you don't know is, sometimes [they] might use too much salt in the recipe and you bite into the cake and get a salty taste. But you have to remember that every day is a birthday cake in here waiting on you. So if you can figure that riddle out, that's what it's like to play for Doc Rivers."
* Rondo stressed again on Tuesday that he was simply trying to take advantage of the fact that no timeout had been called when he moseyed into the Heat huddle during Sunday's win.
“It wasn’t a timeout and they were way out on the court so I just tried to take advantage," said Rondo. "I think [the Heat] were acting like it was a timeout, which coaches do at times if there’s an altercation on the court. They get the guys together in the huddle and try to draw up a play, so I just wanted to see what was going on."
* Rivers noted that the last game before the All-Star break is tough because players are all headed in different directions after the contest and most will be traveling with families. It causes chaos, which can take players' minds off the task at hand. Ray Allen even packed a suitcase early so he can simply focus on the Nets, but admits even he'll be consumed.
"I've actually packed already, so I got that out of the way so I don't have to worry about it," said Allen. "But I will stress over like, 'Do I need that bag, do I need that pair of pants?''
Would Allen really sweat over that sort of stuff?
"Yeah, that's all I ever do," he said. "So I don't have to worry about when I'm playing basketball. But, for the most part, it's a game that it means every bit as much as the rest of them."
* Rivers said the team still hasn't pegged a date for the tests on Marquis Daniels and continues to stress that, even after those occur, the team does not expect him to be available any time in the near future. "We’re just going to try to do without."