|ESPN.com: NBA Playoffs 2010||[Print without images]|
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins watched Saturday's practice from the sideline after his problematic right knee acted up before the session but is expected to be ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
Perkins, who had ice packs on both knees during practice, battled tendinitis in his right knee late in the season, sittng out two games in March, then hyperextended it during the shootaround May 3 before Game 2 of the Celtics' series with the Cavaliers in Cleveland.Coach Doc Rivers didn't seem overly concerned Saturday, but erred on the side of caution. Game 1 is Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Orlando.
"His knee is bothering him," Rivers said. "He tried to go early, but it started bothering him a lot. He wanted to go, but I told him, 'Look, I don't need you tonight, you're not going to help me today in practice. I need you tomorrow.' So I shut him down."
Rivers said he expects Perkins to play Sunday, and much of the talk at Celtics practice revolved around the role Perkins will play in defending the Magic's Dwight Howard.
"I think Perk is going to be one of the biggest keys in this series," teammate Paul Pierce said. "We're going to ask him do lot of one-on-one guarding with Dwight Howard because we can't really come off the rest of these guys the way they shoot the ball from the perimeter, swing it and drive it.
"I think in the past Perk has played [Howard] pretty well, so we're going him to ask him to do that again, especially coming off a tough series where he had to guard Shaquille O'Neal."
Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.