Boston Celtics: Practice Notes

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed optimism about the potential for guards Rajon Rondo (dislocated left elbow) and Delonte West (left shoulder bruise) to be available for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat, but admitted the team would wait for MRI results for both players before gauging their potential to play Monday night.

Regardless of what those tests reveal, and whether the duo can be effective on the floor if limited by injury, Rivers said there's no excuses moving forward.

"I’m optimistic about both, that they’re going to play," Rivers said. "I don’t know why I am, but I am. I just don’t know how well either one can play. But like I've said, if you’re on the floor, you're healthy, and that’s the way it’s been. That’s been my motto since I've been here and our guys believe that. I think it was Kevin [Garnett] actually who said it, what I always say, 'If you’re in uniform, you’re healthy. If you’re not healthy, you’re not in uniform.' That’s how we always viewed it. And we will make no excuses [Monday]. [Monday] is a playoff game, it’s Game 4, and we have to win. That’s all we have to think about."

Rivers said the trainer's room was a popular hangout on Sunday morning with team trainer Eddie Lacerte a man in demand. As expected, Rivers confirmed that Rondo was in a lot more discomfort after the adrenaline wore off and his elbow swelled up. Rivers had originally expressed pessimism about West after Saturday's game, even as the player suggested he was fine, but test results will offer better clarity about the pair's potential moving forward.

Rivers stressed that, even if the MRIs check out OK, the Celtics might not truly know the status of both players until Monday's game, when they'll undergo the more discerning eyeball test. Rivers said as long as the players are not hurting themselves or the team, he expects them to play if physically able.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Shaquille O'Neal (right calf/Achilles) experienced expected soreness after logging 8 minutes in Game 3, his first game action since April 3 (and only his second appearance since Feb. 1). Rivers said he expects the 39-year-old center to be available for Game 4.

"It’s day-to-day with Shaq and his body, and his life in the NBA, but I do think he’ll be able to [provide a similar effort to Game 3]," Rivers said.

Paul Pierce, who suffered an Achilles strain in Game 2, was one of the few players on the court before the team's afternoon film session (Glen Davis, Ray Allen and Jeff Green were among a handful of others). Pierce appeared to be experiencing no lingering effects after a near 41-minute effort Saturday.

A handful of other notes from Sunday's session:

* Forget Mother's Day; mum's the word: Allen wasn't about to tip his team's hand in regards to whether Rondo might be able to play in Game 4. "I have no opinion on that," Allen said. "Obviously, [Sunday] is a whole day that you have to rest, so that's going to be up to him." Asked whether Rondo could get through a whole game with only one arm truly available, Allen said: "You've got to ask him that." Further pressed if he could play with one arm, Allen smiled and offered: "I don't know. We've got a doctor back there, you guys probably [have] to ask him."

* Let's go to the tape: Rivers said he had no interest in watching Rondo's injury while going through film review: "I didn’t watch it. I fast-forwarded when that part came. I didn’t want to see it. But I heard it was bad." ... Rivers did however watch how Rondo ended up in the cringe-worthy scene after getting tangled with Dwyane Wade scrambling for a loose ball and rejected the notion it was an intentional and dirty play by Miami's star guard. "I don't know, it was a hard foul," Rivers said. "Let's put it like this: He didn't intend to hurt Rondo. I honestly don't believe that, in 99 percent of the cases in our league, the player ever intends to hurt someone. But he did and it happens."

* Arroyo active again?: If Rondo and West are even limited, it's likely the Celtics would have to activate backup point guard Carlos Arroyo, who dressed for the first two games of the series before being deactivated Saturday with the return of O'Neal. Said Rivers of the former Heat guard: "It helps that he knows their stuff. But knowing our stuff is really important as well. And he's been here long enough, so he knows that as well.

* Oooh Baby, Baby: Davis on being a more consistent presence on the floor: "I've just got to play better. Point blank." The follow-up asked what the problem had been thus far and Davis shot back: ""Me. That's it. Point blank."

Practice: C's are all in

May, 6, 2011

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics convened Friday for a final practice tuneup before Saturday's Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat. Here are some highlights before the team hit the floor at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint, including your daily health update on Shaquille O'Neal:

ShaqWatch: Practice Tune-up: Celtics coach Doc Rivers indicated he planned to put his team through a short, but spirited practice that would include 5-on-5 activity. He said he thought his team needed live action, but particularly O'Neal as the coach remains optimistic about a potential Shaq return in Game 3.

"We’re going to have a normal practice, not that long, but we’re going to go live and go pretty hard," said Rivers. "And not very long. It's more just for our team, I think we need it. And secondly, I think Shaq needs it, so it will be great for him."

Pressed on how much O'Neal might do during the session, Rivers said: "I think everything. Once practice starts, if he’s tentative on something, we’ll stop him. I don’t think we helped him with all the stuff we did [Monday], but I thought he needed to do it."

O'Neal, limited to 5 minutes of game action since Feb. 1 due to right Achilles and calf issues, participated in his first full practice session Monday, but lingering soreness prevented him from being ready to return for Game 2 the next day. The Celtics will have to play it careful with Shaq in order to ensure he can be on the floor Saturday night.

"I can’t guarantee anything because of [Friday's] practice and the [potential soreness the] next day, but I am very confident he’ll play [Saturday]," said Rivers.

O'Neal emerged from the trainer's room and engaged in stretching activities as the media departed at the start of Boston's practice on Friday.

Betting Against Pocket Aces: Celtics forward Kevin Garnett offered plenty of entertaining soundbites on the two-game deficit that Boston finds itself facing. Maybe the most noteworthy came at the end of his confab with the media after he had been asked about trying to stop Miami's 1-2 punch of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

"Figure it out," said Garnett. "I told you, this is all in. This is it. I've got two pocket kings and I'm all in. Let's do it."

Garnett is either hoping to catch a king on the flop, or doesn't believe James and Wade constitute pocket rockets. Either way, asked as a follow-up how it feels to be in this situation, Garnett summed it up succinctly: "Sucks," and with that hit the floor to warm-up for practice.

More Achilles chatter: Celtics captain Paul Pierce said he's feeling good after a few days of treatment for the left Achilles strain that temporarily forced him out of Tuesday's Game 2 loss.

"It's feeling pretty good," said Pierce. "Last couple days of treatment, it's feeling pretty good. Just a lot of ice, massaging it. [Stimulation] treatment, electronic shock, little stuff. It was just a minor strain, but it's doing good."

Pierce appeared in an upbeat mood and, pressed on whether he can make a difference in the fourth quarter, this after being ejected from Game 1 and playing through injury in Game 2, Pierce smiled and played along by dropping a third-person reference.

"Paul Pierce being in the game in the fourth quarter is always going to help the Celtics," said Pierce. "Healthy."

Practice: Focus on X-Factors

April, 29, 2011

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Three things that stood out after media availability before the Boston Celtics practiced Friday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint, where potential X-Factors were a hot topic:

BOSH IS THE KEY FOR MIAMI: Celtics coaches and players continue to stress that Chris Bosh could be the difference in this series. "LeBron and Wade are LeBron and Wade," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "They’re going to be great players before the series; they’ll be great players after it... But when Bosh plays great, then their team is great. He’s the key guy for them."

Added Kevin Garnett, who will be matched up with Bosh, "When Bosh plays really well, they blow teams out. It’s not even close."

C'S READY FOR MORE 'RONDO DEFENSE': Regardless of whether it's Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby on the court at the start of games, Rivers expects the Heat to throw a little bit of everything at Rondo, including the typical sag-and-challenge defense. "A little bit both, Chalmers and Bibby, and we’ll see LeBron and Wade on Rondo," said Rivers. "I think they’ll go to the 'Rondo Defense' that we all labeled it, where they just help off him, slack off him. How we handle that will be key in this series."

Asked about the difference between Chalmers and Bibby, Rondo noted, "Chalmers is more of a steal guy, Bibby is more of -- not that Chalmers is not solid, just Chalmers is going to put pressure on you if you turn your back and play the passing lanes -- Bibby is more of a solid defender."

Regardless of the defense, maybe Garnett summed it up best, "We just need Shorty to be aggressive. Rondo’s a pain when he’s aggressive. When he’s stacking the stat line he’s a problem to deal with and we’re a problem to deal with."

WEST'S ANKLE STILL WEAK; NO MOTIVATION ISSUES: After being quiet for much of the first round, particularly amidst some struggles and the nagging ankle injury, Celtics guard Delonte West spoke at length with the media Friday and admitted he's still a bit hobbled. "I just realize [the ankle is] still not 100 percent. It's not hurting, but it's still weak. I still have to tape it up and my explosiveness is not there. I've been attacking the basket and the rim the way I'm accustomed to, but hopefully that's not going to be an issue this next series."

West did offer the line of the day when asked about motivation going into the next round.

"At this point, if you're not motivated you need to go home and get a Bud Light or something and let the good times roll," said West. "I think everyone's motivated. In this type of intense competition you try to find any edge you can get over your opponent, you take it. I wouldn't be surprised what type of motivation they're trying to use to get themselves ready."

The benches were a hot topic yet again with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge pointing out that, while this series likely boils down to the seven All-Stars on the court, "getting a boost from the bench could be huge."

Practice: Back to business

April, 27, 2011

WALTHAM, Mass. -- What did the Boston Celtics do during a two-day break after completing a first-round sweep of the New York Knicks on Sunday?

"Just taking it easy, just been chilling," said reserve forward/center Glen Davis. "I went to the [New England] Aquarium, [saw] some penguins. I met a couple penguins, fed a seal. Just been chilling."

In terms of a first-round opponent, the Celtics are still chilling. Coach Doc Rivers admitted that the eyes of his staff are naturally on the Miami Heat given their 3-1 lead in an Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. But Rivers said the team had started some prep work on both squads in the event of an unprecedented rally by Philadelphia from a three-game hole (Game 5 is Wednesday night in Miami).

Regardless, Rivers said Boston wouldn't work on anything related to another team during Wednesday's session at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint. Instead, the Celtics are focused solely on themselves.

"I told you all year, the opponent’s been us," said Rivers. "So we get a chance to work on our stuff, very similar to training camp. When you’re starting training camp, you really don’t have an opponent, you really just trying to work on all your stuff. We have an opportunity to do that with us, so that’s good."

Added Davis: "We're going to take this as a cobweb day -- like get all the cobwebs out. We've been chilling for a couple days, getting a lot of rest. [Now the Celtics have to] get our rhythm back together with each other. That's what we're going to try to focus on today. Today we [might] get to see who wins [Heat vs. 76ers], but, today's a cobweb day [for Boston]."

After giving the entire team two days to recover from the four-game sweep of the Knicks, Rivers zipped home to Orlando for a couple days with his family. He gave the players free roam, but the sign-in sheet at the practice facility revealed that more than half of them trekked in for light workouts.

"Sleep, nap, I don’t care; I told them I didn’t want to see them," quipped Rivers. "I told them that, in a change, the coaches were taking a break, not the players. No, the players could do whatever they want for two days... I haven’t had them focus on anything.

"A bunch of them actually played 3-on-3, stuff like that. You know, ball players play basketball. So that's good."

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Injury Watch: Non-O'Neals edition

March, 26, 2011
WALTHAM, Mass. -- The O'Neals -- Shaquille and Jermaine -- are not the only ones battling injury on the Celtics' roster right now, just the ones drawing the most intrigue. So here's a quick rundown on where Boston’s other patients stand before Saturday's practice at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

Steve Babineau/NBAE/GettyTroy Murphy is still in a walking boot after Thursday's ankle sprain.
* Reserve forward Troy Murphy came onto the court without a walking boot, but admitted it was only because he had just completed some work on the exercise bike. He is also not expected to travel on Boston's upcoming four-game road trip that starts Sunday night in Minnesota and didn't have a firm timeline for his return.

"It's sore," Murphy said of the right ankle he sprained in Thursday's practice. "I think I got it pretty good. I'm continuing to get treatment and I'll come back as quickly as I can."

But Murphy admitted he's not initially optimistic.

"No, I'm struggling walking right now," he said. "I'm still in a boot, and they just want met to wear this thing during practice and everything to walk around, but I'm still in the boot and everything like that."

* Reserve guard Von Wafer was present at practice, but not dressed to participate, which suggests he's still a ways off from returning from a right calf strain suffered on March 4. Wafer participated fully in Thursday's session, but said then that he would need to evaluate how the calf responded before setting his own timeline. Celtics coach Doc Rivers has maintained that Wafer's return remains a ways off.

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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.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics held an open practice Saturday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

Celtics coach Doc Rivers indicated that center Shaquille O'Neal is unlikely to be ready for Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers as the soon-to-be 39-year-old's right foot is bothering him again.

O'Neal, sidelined the last 12 games due to an inflamed right Achilles, had lobbied Rivers to return as early as Sunday's visit to Milwaukee. Rivers instead targeted Wednesday, but O'Neal was unable to get back on the floor for Saturday's practice, which will likely push him back a bit.

"Shaq is probably not going to be back Wednesday, it looks like," said Rivers. "His foot is bothering him again a little bit."

O'Neal hasn't been on the court since Feb. 1 and news of a setback was greeted with little more than shrugs by a Celtics team that's been decimated by the injury bug this season.

Boston practiced with a mere 10 players Saturday as Glen Davis (left knee strain), Von Wafer (right calf sprain), Jermaine O'Neal (left knee surgery), Delonte West (right ankle sprain), and Shaq did not participate. Davis did come onto the floor for some light shooting following the session.

West observed practice from the sideline. After missing the last three games with the ankle injury, Rivers is hoping to get him back on the court Wednesday, but the team will take a wait-and-see approach with him as well.

Rivers said Wafer is likely to miss two or three games as he allows his calf to heal after tweaking it Friday night against Golden State; Davis was already projected at a week's absence after tweaking his already ailing knee Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.

Rivers did suggest that, as soon as players like Shaq and West are ready to return, they'll be thrust onto the floor.

"Right now, the season is winding down and, if they get healthy, I’m playing them, even if that’s their practice," said Rivers. "We just gotta get them on the floor."

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Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesChris Johnson did enough to stick around, but the Celtics are in search of point guard help.
Chris Johnson, signed out of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract last Thursday with Boston in desperate need of big bodies, was informed Saturday that he will not be re-signed by the club and the Celtics will instead pursue a backup point guard to help drive down minutes for Rajon Rondo before the playoffs arrive.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who on Friday night indicated the team would likely re-sign Johnson, said near the end of Saturday's session that he was uncertain if Johnson would make the trip to Milwaukee as the team was looking for ball-handling help.

"Honestly, we’re trying to sign a point guard," said Rivers. "If we can sign a point guard, we're going to lose C.J., but if we can’t sign a point guard, we’ll keep him."

The team must be confident in that pursuit as, soon after, Johnson confirmed that he had been informed the team would not re-sign him to a second 10-day deal. He said he's not disappointed and enjoyed his time in Boston, but it's back to Dakota of the D-League for the lanky center.

"I worked hard, did whatever I could do in 10 days," said Johnson, who saw limited action after a brilliant debut in Denver for a shorthanded Celtics squad that made three moves and traded away five players (including two centers) at the deadline. "Everybody saw I work hard and I felt like I left a mark."

The Celtics wouldn't mind crossing paths with Johnson down the road, particularly if he can add muscle mass to his frame. But they were brutally honest about their needs moving forward.

"They just want a guard to give Rondo some rest, especially with [Delonte West] hurt," said Johnson.

West, who has missed the last three games due to an ankle injury suffered last Sunday, watched Saturday's session from the sideline. Rivers had pegged a potential Wednesday return for West, but they'll wait and see how he's progressing before rushing him back out.

Rondo is averaging 40.2 minutes per contest over Boston's last 10 games, a sizable uptick over the 37.9 he's averaged for the season. With Friday's frenetic pace, Rondo even took himself out briefly in the second half against the Golden State Warriors but ultimately logged a team-high 42 minutes. Rivers admitted after the game he needs to drive those minutes down.

"The guy I’ve got to keep down more is Rondo," he said. "Even though he’s young, he’s still playing too many minutes the last four or five games. With Delonte [West] out, that’s put a lot of stress on us as well."

The Celtics won't find an overwhelming assortment of available ball-handlers on the free-agent market, but one intriguing (and obvious) possibility is Carlos Arroyo, the point guard jettisoned by the rival Miami Heat earlier this week to make room for bought out Mike Bibby. Arroyo averaged 5.6 points and 2 assists per game in 49 appearances with the Heat, starting 42 games before falling out of favor.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Thursday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

The rundown: Davis MRI negative | Injury updates | Pavlovic on board

An MRI on his ailing left knee came back negative, but Celtics reserve forward/center Glen Davis will sit out as much as a week while battling what the team has dubbed a strained patella tendon.

Davis revealed he's been playing through pain since as far back as last season, but had appeared in all 59 games of the 2010-11 season. The pain escalated while completing a two-handed jam in the final minute of Wednesday's win over the Phoenix Suns, forcing Davis to shut it down for a few days.

"It's sore; It's really sore, but I'll be okay," said Davis, noting he'll sit anywhere from three to seven days. If it's like most injuries this season, the Celtics won't rush him back, particularly after adding a pair of power forwards in recent days in Jeff Green and Troy Murphy.

Davis said he'll simply ice the knee each day and continue to work out as able to stay in playing shape. He said he's slightly relieved that there's no further damage to the knee, but the condition has worsened recently and he knows it's critical to get himself right before the postseason.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said it's been Davis' ability to play through the pain lately that's impressed him the most.

"If you ask me, the No. 1 quality to a great player in the NBA is availability," said Rivers. "You look at the great ones, they're always available. Baby's done a great job, really. They all have a higher pain threshold and they're all able to block it out and play. Baby's been able to do that this year and that's a big step for him."

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All-Star 2011: Stars align in Los Angeles

February, 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics participated in media access following an Eastern Conference All-Star team meeting Friday at the JW Marriott:

Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't deny there was a mild air of tension as the East stars gathered for their first team meeting Friday, but he kind of enjoyed watching the scene as the 12 players filed in for a brief afternoon session to lay the groundwork for the weekend.

"We just had our big meeting and guys were pretty good," said Rivers. "I’m an observer, that’s what I do. There's always some guys and I was just canvassing the room, watching where guys sat and who kinda kept to themselves. There was a little bit of that."

Much has been made about the fact that the Celtics have their own little clique with four reserves on this year's squad in Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, along with Rivers and his coaching staff. Meanwhile, the rival Heat -- who sit in a virtual tie atop the East with Boston -- have a trio in Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. The Hawks also have a pair of reserves in Al Horford and Joe Johnson.

Rivers said that naturally led to some pairing off at the meeting, and it left some on an island.

"The guy I felt sorry for was Dwight [Howard]," joked Rivers. "Everybody else seemed to have a teammate they could talk to. He didn’t have a teammate, so I sat by Dwight and just talked to him."

Howard is the odds-on favorite to end up paired with Boston's center-less quartet, with most of the players suggesting they wouldn't mind him being in the middle of that All-Star lineup (Heck, Pierce went so far as to suggest Howard, a soon-to-be free agent, wouldn't look bad in a green Celtics jersey).

Rajon Rondo offered to give up the point guard spot if Rivers himself wanted to make it a Boston sweep and join his players on the floor for a few minutes.

"Yeah, get the tight shorts," Rivers joked in regards to the style of shorts that were popular during his playing days.


Kevin Garnett kept a steady crowd of reporters, even towards the end of his near-45-minute session. That meant a lot of repeat questions about his reputation as a "dirty" player, a word he dismissed despite far-ranging criticism recently from the likes of Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry and Knicks superfan Spike Lee.

"Listen, I don't play for the Phoenix Suns," said Garnett. "I could care less about what Spike or whoever else has something to say about me. My organization is happy with what I'm doing, so I could care less.

"I'm a competitor and play hard, but don't call me dirty. Just like, if you dislike me, dislike me. 'Hate' is a strong word, just like 'dirty' is a strong word. It is a different league. It's a more offensive league. I'm sure the league likes to promote offense and it's cool. Don't call me or make me out to be something I'm not."

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Practice notes: West tweaks wrist

February, 15, 2011
WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Tuesday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

The rundown: West tweaks wrist | Shaq's Halloween | KG: Doc's like cake

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."


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]."


* 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."

Practice notes: Pierce sits out, but expects to play Wednesday

February, 14, 2011
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesPaul Pierce works out in the Celtics' weight room earlier this season.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Monday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

The rundown: Pierce OK | West's return | 'Quis update | Shaq back? | Loose balls

Celtics captain Paul Pierce sat out Monday's practice and is expected to do the same on Tuesday, but tests on his ailing right hand and left foot revealed no major injuries and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he expects Pierce to play Wednesday night in Boston's pre-All-Star-break finale against the New Jersey Nets.

"He's good," Rivers said after an open practice. "Yeah, it's OK. Everything's good. I think there's bruising, obviously, swelling, but everything he can play with. That was very good."

Asked if the conditions could worsen if he plays, Rivers said doctors haven't discouraged Pierce from getting back on the court.

"We don't know that," said Rivers. "They said 'No,' really. It's just one of those things where [if] someone hits you with a baseball bat on your arm, it's just going to take time to heal. That's what happened. He got kicked a couple games ago in his foot, and then he got hit on the hand the same way in the same game, and they both are reacting.

"Obviously, the break is coming at a great time. We have one game left. For precaution, just so nobody kicks him or hits him, we're not going to practice him tomorrow either, which will be difficult for Paul because he likes to practice. We'll play him in the game and I know the coach of the All-Star game, so he probably won't play a lot in that game."

Rivers, of course, is the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars this season.

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Practice notes: 'Every day's a mystery'

February, 12, 2011
WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Saturday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

The Rundown: Robinson hoping to go vs. Miami | No MJ in Doc | Loose Balls

Celtics guard Nate Robinson (bruised right knee) participated in only the walkthrough portions of Saturday's session, but said he is hopeful he can suit up for Sunday's visit from the Miami Heat. Boston could sure use him.

The Celtics limped through another injury-plagued practice with 10 available bodies. Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed Achilles), Semih Erden (right adductor strain), Jermaine O'Neal (left knee surgery), and Marquis Daniels (bruised spine) were not part of the on-court action. Reserve guard Delonte West, champing at the bit for a return from a fractured right wrist that has shelved him since late November, did engage in his second full-contact practice of the week, but Rivers indicated the Celtics would prefer to get him two more practice sessions early next week before hopefully squeezing him back into game action in Wednesday's pre-All-Star finale against, ironically, a New Jersey Nets team he injured himself against.

After banging knees with Shannon Brown, Robinson committed an intentional foul Thursday and hopped off the court early in the second quarter in the loss to the Lakers, leaving Boston with nine available bodies.

"Oh no, when I shot, I got too close and when I landed, [Shannon Brown] landed at the same time and it was like a perfect [collision], like we hit knees perfectly," said Robinson. "I watched it over and over. [Team trainer Ed Lacerte] said it was like a perfect hit."

Robinson said he hadn't undergone an MRI on the knee and will instead wear a brace that might allow him to get through the game.

"I didn't do the MRI yet; I'm just getting treatment right now," said Robinson. "It's cool. [We're going to go with] a knee brace. I'll be straight."

Robinson kept his sense of humor about the situation, noting he actually played with a bigger brace while with the Knicks during the early stages of his career. "I think once in New York, I had a messed up knee for a couple of weeks. I wore a big ol' knee brace then, like [Kendrick Perkins after offseason ACL surgery]. I had one of those and, for a guard, that's ugly, so I couldn't be seen with that thing for too long. That was nasty."

Robinson said he'll stick around all night for treatment if that's what it takes. He's already done it once on Friday, noting he left the facility around 11 p.m. on the team's offday. "I hope [I can play]," said Robinson. "I'm just going to go in here and get treatment. I ain't going to leave here all night, like last night."

The new is less encouraging on Shaq and Erden. Rivers said neither has responded well to treatment and their returns could be pushed back even beyond the All-Star break.

"Semih's groin is not improving; Shaq's Achilles is not improving at all," said Rivers. "Obviously, we thought we'd have both back by [Thursday's game against the Lakers]. But that's fine, they're good."

Pressed on Shaq's injury, Rivers said only: "It just hasn't healed. It's no worse, it just hasn't healed as quickly."

Robinson maintained his optimistic approach, not ready to lean on the injury crutch.

"We've just got to find a way to win, regardless of who goes down," said Robinson. "That's why it's called a team. You have other guys, not just one guy. Guys play through injuries, you've just got to, you know, keep fighting through it and we'll be alright."

Reminded it's been something new each day, he just shook his head and added: "Every day's a mystery."

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Practice notes: Pierce (sick) sits out

February, 9, 2011
WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Wednesday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint:

The rundown: Pierce (ill) sits out at C's run with 10 | D-West returns | Ray & the record

Just when it seemed like the Celtics' roster couldn't possibly be thinned any further, captain Paul Pierce sat out Wednesday's session due to illness and, while coach Doc Rivers expects him to play Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, it was the latest setback for a Boston squad suddenly desperate for healthy bodies.

The Celtics operated with a 10-man session as Pierce, Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed Achilles), Jermaine O'Neal (left knee surgery), Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord), and Semih Erden (right adductor strain) were all absent. All but Pierce have been ruled out for Thursday's game.

On the more encouraging side, reserve guard Delonte West engaged in his first full-contact practice since fracturing his right wrist in mid-November and, despite lobbying Rivers and the training staff to let him play as early as Thursday, the team is still targeting a return later in the month.

"We don’t worry about body count," said Rivers. "[The Lakers are] not going to worry about the body count, I can guarantee you that. We’ll be ready, we’ll be fine."

But Rivers admitted that, after operating without a pure swingman Wednesday and dangerously thin at center, the team will be tested moving forward.

"Size will come into play at some point [Thursday], but, listen, we have what we have," said Rivers. "We’re going to line it up against whatever they have and see who wins the game."

While normally all the focus on the day before a Celtics-Lakers matchup would be on the rivalry, Boston seemed more concerned about its own backyard, almost resigned to the fact that the Lakers are simply the next team on the schedule (when a visit from, say, Cleveland might be more welcomed). But the Celtics also aren't feeling sorry for themselves and those players that are healthy promised to be ready for the matchup.

"We just gotta get it done," said Glen Davis. "Things happen, players get hurt. You gotta keep going. That's why you have 15 people on the roster."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reiterated that it will be another week before the team gets a better grasp on the prognosis of Daniels and admitted that leaves the team in a bind in the interim.

"I think we're thin [at the 3] now without Marquis and without Delonte," said Ainge. "If we had Delonte and Von to play, we'd be fine. But Delonte is back soon. He practiced full today, he's probably another two or three weeks away from playing in games. Some time after the break. But all the injuries, we feel like Jermaine and Shaq and Semih and Delonte will all be back the second half of the season and Marquis is up in the air."

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Practice notes: All-Star chatter

February, 3, 2011
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Quick hits after the Boston Celtics practiced Thursday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint. Check out practice videos below (use the arrows on the side of the video to scroll through the full playlist):

  • Doc wants four stars: Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he thinks the Celtics deserve four All-Star reserves in Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. Those reserves will officially be announced Thursday night. "I think we should get four guys on the roster," said Rivers. "If I don't, I'd be very disappointed. And if I do, I'm going to play them all together. That way we can run offense in the All-Star game and that would be a first."
  • All-Star chatter part II: Rivers said the fun part about getting four stars would not only be playing them together, but figuring out who would be the fifth non-Celtics player on the floor. "There's some interesting combinations you can throw out there." So who would his most likely choice be? "Whoever is closest to free agency," he said with a laugh. "Just to see how it would feel."
  • Shaq sits out session: Shaquille O'Neal did not participate in Thursday's practice with Rivers noting, "He's 38," as the reason for his absence, before revealing a slightly more troubling ailment. ""I think it's his Achilles, it's inflamed," said Rivers. "So we'll see. We may play him [Friday vs. the Mavericks], we may not."
  • Perkins feeling good: Center Kendrick Perkins, who spent time after practice jumping rope like a boxer preparing for a prizefight, admitted he's somewhat surprised by his own conditioning and ability to jump right back into heightened activity in the five games he's logged since returning from offseason ACL surgery. "I'm not where I want to be, but I am happy with where I'm at." With Shaq questionable Friday, Perkins could be thrust into the starting lineup by default, a spot he's seemingly nearing a return to, anyhow. Said Rivers: "We will eventually [make the change at starter], it's not a big deal for us. We're more concerned with who finishes the game."
  • West takes another step in recovery: Reserve guard Delonte West participated in non-contact drills at the start of Thursday's session, but remains a ways off from returning to heightened activities. West suggested he's hoping to get back into full-contact drills in practice before the All-Star break, which could keep him in line for a return in late February. Said West: "Each day it's getting better. Today I felt comfortable to do a little bit more. I was shooting layups and catching passes today. It's still a little sore, but I'm hoping any day now I can get cleared to start practicing. Also, due to the weather, being stuck out on the west coast, I missed an appointment, but the next couple of days I should be getting a check-up and seeing how far I've progressed and how much more I can start to do."



Jeff Green
19.7 1.5 1.0 34.1
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.4
AssistsR. Rondo 10.6
StealsR. Rondo 1.7
BlocksK. Olynyk 0.7