It has to be tempting for the Celtics  to see Kendrick Perkins  going through live practice sessions and think they need to get him back on the floor now. With Jermaine O’Neal  out four weeks for rest and rehab on his injured knee and Shaquille O’Neal  likely to miss at least the next two games with a sore hip, the team’s depth at center is once again down to Semih Erden and Glen Davis .
That’s enough to get through a game here or there, and that’s the way the Celtics are going to play it because they are taking the longview on Perkins’ return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Doc Rivers  acknowledged Monday that Perkins has already begun lobbying to come back sooner, but it’s falling on deaf ears.
“Honestly, he wants to play tomorrow,” Rivers said. “He’s already approached me about that. The only consideration is when [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and Dr. [Brian] McKeon say you can play him. I’m not going to listen to Perk, I can tell you that.”
Perkins has targeted Feb. 4 against the Mavericks as his potential return date and the Celtics have five games left between now and then. They play the Cavs Tuesday at the Garden and then head out for a four-game west coast trip.
It’s unlikely that Shaq will play in the first game Thursday at Portland for a number of reasons — it’s a long flight and it’s the first of a back-to-back with Phoenix on Friday. “I think [Shaq will] play in at least one or two of the games for sure, but I don’t [know] that positively.”
The Celtics have made it this far being patient with injuries. They can afford to wait a little longer.