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Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Pregame: Krstic, Murphy return

By Chris Forsberg

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics center Nenad Krstic (bruised right knee) and forward Troy Murphy (sprained right ankle) are back in the lineup for Tuesday night's tilt with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Avery Bradley and Von Wafer are the (rare) healthy scratches for Boston, joining Shaquille O'Neal (strained right calf) on the inactive list. The Celtics know what Wafer can do (even as he works his way back from his own calf injury) and the team likely needs to get a longer look at guys like Murphy and Sasha Pavlovic while determining the 12 players who will make up the end of the active playoff roster.

Rivers said that there is no update on O'Neal and hesitated to project a return date, simply saying that there's nothing new since Monday's practice, when Rivers cautiously suggested a potential return by the end of the week.

Krstic missed the last two games after suffering the knee injury Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs. This will be his first game coming off the bench for Boston, but Rivers noted (with crossed fingers) that that will be his role in the postseason with the team hoping to lean on O'Neal as the starter.

"I feel OK, a little sore, but I went through the whole practice yesterday, so I'll be OK," Krstic said before admitting he needs to get over a mental hurdle with the injury. "It's going to be weird. I was scared, but the injury was nothing serious. It's been in my head, so it'll be weird tonight. Hopefully I just get it quickly from my head."

Rivers said the bench role is good postseason prep.

"That's probably where Krstic will come off of in the playoffs," Rivers said. "So we'll put him there now and let him get used to that role."

Jermaine O'Neal draws his second straight start for the Celtics in only his fourth game back following left knee surgery.

Murphy has been sidelined since rolling his ankle in practice on March 24. Lackluster since being signed off the buyout scrap heap, Murphy needs to show he can be a factor, whether it be on the glass or with his 3-point shot, over the final five games of the regular season.

With Boston still jockeying for position atop the Eastern Conference, Rivers wouldn't commit to getting Murphy back on the floor, but said he'd certainly put him out there if the situation allowed.

Glen Davis sported a pair of ice bags over both his hands, getting one taped by a trainer at his locker stall as curious reporters invaded. Davis swears he's fine and Rivers had his own theory.

"I think he just wanted to talk to you guys," said Rivers. "He's jealous Shaq’s getting too much attention and he wanted some."