Boston Celtics: Jeff Adrien
BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors that Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles) had lobbied to play this weekend, but Rivers suggested it's more likely that both O'Neal and Delonte West (sprained right ankle) will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Delonte is day-to-day, but I doubt he’ll play this weekend," said Rivers, who takes his troops to Milwaukee for a Sunday night battle with the Bucks. The Celtics enjoy two days of rest before the Clippers visit.
"Shaq actually wants to play on Sunday, but I think he needs more practice time, so he’ll probably play next Wednesday -- if nothing happens in practice, and I'm scared to say that now that our shootarounds been so grueling."
O'Neal, who has sat out the last 11 games and hasn't been on the floor since Feb. 1, participated in skeleton drills before Thursday's practice, but will likely need additional full-contact action before Rivers is confident to put him back out.
West has missed 51 games this season, including the last two after rolling his right ankle during skeleton drills in an informal practice with Boston's trade acquisitions on Sunday.
A couple other quick pregame notes:
* Newly acquired Sasha Pavlovic is on the active roster for Friday's game and, after another crash course in Boston's philosophies Friday morning, he's ready to dive in.
"Whatever coach asks me todo, I'm going to try and do my best," said Pavlovic.
Rivers said it was more likely the team will lean on Von Wafer first if they need a perimeter player off the bench early.
* With Celtics top reserve Glen Davis sidelined due to a strained patella tendon in his left knee, expect heightened activity for Jeff Green and Troy Murphy at the power forward spot. Rivers said he won't increase Kevin Garnett's minutes and will also lean on Chris Johnson at times.
* Rivers said that Johnson, signed out of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract at last Thursday's trade deadline, is likely to get another 10-day deal with Boston when that original deal expires on Saturday.
"I don’t know, but I think we will," said Rivers. "He hasn’t played much, but in that Denver game, I thought he was terrific. If we can figure out a way to get him on [Big] Baby’s weight program, he’d be terrific."
* Harvard's Jeremy Lin is inactive for Friday's homecoming game, but Brookline High product Jeff Adrien is active. So is newly acquired Al Thornton after being bought out by the Washington Wizards.
Jeff Adrien touched down at Logan Airport 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and there was no jet lag from the west coast. Not when it's coming home to Boston.
"It's definitely great to be home, definitely not lagging," said the former Brookline High star and newly minted Golden State Warrior [Thursday] morning from inside the school's Schluntz Gymnasium, on the eve of Golden State's game with the Celtics [Friday] night at the TD Garden.
Adrien made the Warriors' final roster cut to start the season, but was sent to the D-League after 15 games to make room for point guard Acie Law. With Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Adrien dominated, averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds before getting called back to Golden State last week following the trade of Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to the New Jersey Nets.
He was back at his alma mater [Thursday] morning, speaking to a quarter-filled gymnasium of Brookline students for a Q&A session. Adrien, of course, led Brookline through one of its most successful runs in school history before moving on to a storied career at UConn, twice taking the Warriors to the Division 1 state finals (2002, 2004).
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"Well, it's about really making it, you know," Adrien told ESPN Boston's Brendan Hall while discussing his local roots. Adrien starred at Brookline High School before a decorated career at the University of Connecticut. That wasn't enough for him to roll the dice on the team he grew up cheering for.
"I felt like with the Celtics, they're stacked over there, but it wouldn't be the right situation for me. Right now it's a business thing, and you've got to do what's best for you. I thought that was the best decision for me."
This is something Boston continues to run into while trying to bring in a few young bodies for camp. Unsigned players see a roster with 14 guaranteed contracts for next season, along with two non-guaranteed players already on the roster in Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette, and are seeking better opportunities.
Northeastern's Matt Janning signed a contract to join the Phoenix Suns earlier this month, while Michigan's DeShawn Sims elected to play overseas in Greece. Both players suited up for the Celtics during the Orlando summer league in July and had received training camp invites.
Boston hasn't been bashful in noting it wants to add another shooter this offseason and the Celtics would prefer a proven veteran that can add depth at the wing spot. All of which is just another reason younger players might see better opportunities elsewhere.
While an intriguing option, Adrien is an undersized power forward (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) who might have had trouble finding playing time in Boston's revamped frontcourt. He spent last season in the Spanish League and hopes he can find a spot on a young team like the Warriors.
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