Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Boston Celtics [Print without images]

Friday, April 8, 2011
Pregame: J.O. sits; Krstic starts

By Chris Forsberg



BOSTON -- Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal, who has appeared in five games over the last eight days since returning from left knee surgery, is being held out by coach Doc Rivers Friday night. Nenad Krstic will get the spot start against the Washington Wizards.

"I'm holding J.O. out tonight; He wanted to play, but I didn’t think he should play," said Rivers. "I just want to keep him healthy. He’s played a bunch of games and we play Sunday, Monday, [and] Wednesday [next week], and he would like to play that entire week, so I thought this would be a good game for him to sit."

Rivers said everyone else -- save for Shaquille O'Neal, who Rivers had no update on, but seemed to hint was unlikely to play Sunday vs. Miami -- was available Friday night. Boston's helmsman hasn't decided how -- or if -- he'll rest his other veterans as the postseason nears.

"I'm not thinking about it," said Rivers. "We'll think about that when we get there... It's game by game. We're going by what our eyes tell us, by what [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] tell us, and what [the players] tell us. Right now, they're good."

As for Jermaine O'Neal moving forward, Rivers said one tweak he will initiate when he returns Sunday is to limit the long layoffs between getting him back on the floor.

"We're sitting him too long," said Rivers. "I'll try to play him the same [minutes] -- he only plays five or six minutes in a row -- but then we'll sit him five minutes and let him play again. I think that's easier for him."

A couple other quick pregame notes:

* Rivers confirmed that he and Rondo had a postgame powwow in Chicago, but suggested it's not that uncommon. "Rondo's come in, probably a lot," said Rivers. "We have a very good relationship. He loves to [talk], especially after games, or the next day after a loss he'll come in early if we lose. He wants to know what I saw, first with him, then he always wants the temperature, at least what I have, on the team. We've pretty much done that all year."

* Rivers admitted he was disappointed in his team's sense of urgency Thursday vs. the Bulls. "You just have to see it. We can talk about it and we've been talking about it. We had it against San Antonio, but we didn't have it the next night [vs. Atlanta]. That's who we've been. Whether we get out of that or not will decide where we go [in the postseason]."