WALTHAM — J.R. Giddens sported a pair of red and green Nikes during practice. It was appropriate for the second-year player who is expected to receive a belated Christmas gift on Saturday.
“That’d be a Christmas present and a Happy New Year,” Giddens said with an uncontrollable smile following practice on Friday.
While Rivers only hinted that one of the younger C’s (Giddens, Lester Hudson , and Bill Walker ) would play and Giddens spoke hypothetically, Kendrick Perkins  said he expects to see him in the starting lineup. Giddens is preparing himself by coming back to the Celtics  training facility to get in some extra shots and cardio until he feels comfortable with his offense and ball handling.
Playing time period is a big deal for Giddens. The 2008 first round draft pick has played a total of 61 minutes in just 15 games this season and looked forward to any opportunities, let alone the chance to start.
But things were different when Giddens showed up for practice on Friday. Rivers called him, Hudson, and Walker into his office to discuss the importance of their roles in the midst of the injuries. Then he worked out with the first unit.
Giddens seemed at a loss for words at points when he talked about the possibility of starting. But after pausing a moment of reflect on his journey since Draft Night, he was filled with emotions.
“Being a first round draft pick and then not getting the chance to play is very humbling,” he said. “Now that I have that opportunity, I know I’m so fortunate and I feel so blessed to get it. I think this made me appreciate ball a lot more and playing. I always say when I played basketball when I was living, you know when I got reps, it would be just like living again, getting out there.”