Thursday, March 24, 2011
Practice notes: Wafer returns, Murphy injured
By Chris Forsberg
WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Celtics got a player back during Thursday's practice at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint, but it wasn't the eagerly anticipated return of Shaquille O'Neal.
No, the Diesel remains in the garage for at least another day, but reserve guard Von Wafer, who has missed the last 10 games after straining his right calf in a win over Golden State on Feb. 4, engaged in his most heightened basketball activities since the injury.
Wafer participated fully in the practice, including the scrimmage sessions, then returned to the court after for additional shooting. He was waiting to see how it responds to the activity.
"We'll see how it feels in the morning," said Wafer. "We'll probably know better then."
Wafer traveled with the team on its recently completed three-game road trip, but only engaged in light activities, mostly shooting drills. While Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Wednesday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies that Wafer was still a ways out from returning, the reserve shooting guard is optimistic about his recovery thus far.
"I was thinking I'd probably be out for a few more days," admitted Wafer. "I think I did come back faster than I thought."
Now he's hoping he can do the same for game action, particularly as the Celtics start the process of identifying their 12-man playoff roster. If Wafer can get back to the level he was playing at before the injury, he has a chance to earn a final spot, maybe over another backup wing like Sasha Pavlovic.
"I'm thinking about getting back healthy and trying to come back stronger than when I left," said Wafer. "That's all I'm concerned about. If I get to play, or if I don't, either way I won't be disappointed. You never know what to expect."
A few other quick hits from practice:
* Celtics reserve forward Troy Murphy rolled his right ankle and limped off the court late in the session. The team has dubbed it a mild sprain and he's listed as day-to-day.
* Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave himself a day off from media obligations and instead allowed assistants Armond Hill and Kevin Eastman to chat with reporters. Rivers does not typically allow his assistants to discuss basketball matters with reporters, so it was a rare opportunity to get insight from two of Rivers' right-hand men. More from them later (but you can check out a bit in the video in the playlist embedded above).
* There was a lot of chatter about the final possessions in Wednesday's loss to the Grizzlies with Hill and Eastman detailing how Rivers apologized to his team before Thursday's session for not making better decisions, including calling a timeout when Boston had a chance to go ahead with under 30 seconds to play in a one-point game.