|Kevin Garnett returns to lineup with no restrictions||01.17.11 at 7:55 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett will make his return to the lineup against the Orlando Magic Monday night and he will not have a minutes restriction in his first game since injuring his right calf against the Pistons on Dec. 29. “He’s pretty much free to play,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game.
The Celtics had contemplated bringing Garnett back last Friday after he went through most of a practice the day before. But they ultimately decided to give him the weekend to make sure everything felt 100 percent. “He had a practice before the other night where he probably could have played, but we were going to bring him back if he was right,” Rivers said. “So he’s pretty much free to play now.”
Rivers said he wouldn’t shy away from playing Garnett against Dwight Howard, although they typically don’t use that strategy until late in games to avoid getting Garnett in foul trouble.
Several other injured Celtics players are also in the lineup including Shaquille O’Neal, who slipped on ice getting to practice Sunday and Marquis Daniels who had to sit out most of practice after taking a hard screen from Kendrick Perkins.
|Jermaine O’Neal to decide on whether to have surgery next week||01.14.11 at 7:34 pm ET|
Jermaine O’Neal has already met with the Celtics medical staff and will meet with a doctor on Monday for a second opinion on whether he should have surgery on his knee. O’Neal said he would make an announcement on Tuesday. “My preference is to play,” O’Neal said. “You don’t get this opportunity very often.”
If O’Neal did have surgery he would likely be out anywhere from 2-3 months. That timeframe would possibly put him back by the end of the regular season, but realistically it would be very difficult for him to contribute this season.
“If it means two months or more, that’s basically it,” Doc Rivers said. “Everyone thinks when you say two months that means you play in two months. No, that means you start working out in two months. If you’re coming back in April and you haven’t played all year, there’s a very low chance of that you’re going to help us.”
Rivers said that O’Neal’s decision would have no bearing on what happens with Kendrick Perkins and his rehab. “They’re two different things,” Rivers said. “I’m going to look out for the best interest of J.O. and I’m going to look out for the best interest of Perk and I’m going to do that separately.”
O’Neal said he is beyond frustrated by this latest turn of events. After missing 19 games he was able to return and had played well defensively, but he had a tough back-to-back last weekend and his knee swelled up after practice on Tuesday.
“It’s past that. It’s past frustrating. It’s far past that,” he said. “I didn’t foresee this happening.”
|And the hits keep on coming as Semih Erden pulls his groin||01.13.11 at 4:13 pm ET|
“This is who we are right now,” Rivers said in announcing the latest injuries to hit the Celtics‘ front court.
Jermaine O’Neal had an MRI Thursday on his sore left knee that acted up in the second half of Monday’s game against Houston.
Rivers is concerned that surgery will likely be needed to correct the issue.
“Don’t know yet,” Rivers said following practice Thursday. “I know he did [have] an MRI. Honestly, my guess is they’re going to have to do something. So, I don’t know that. I’m just using my doctorate right now. My guess is they’ll probably have to do something.”
Complicating matters is a groin pull sustained by back-up center Semih Erden, which kept him out of practice Thursday and limited the Celtics to nine healthy players. With Kevin Garnett still out with a strained right calf, Kendrick Perkins (right knee) not yet cleared for contact practice and Shaquille O’Neal getting limited minutes to save his stamina for later in the season, the Celtics are struggling with depth in the front court.
“It puts more pressure on them,” Rivers said of his remaining healthy front-court players. “Semih couldn’t practice today. He has a groin pull. So, that’s what we are. We have 15 players. We’re going to send Avery [Bradley] down [to D-League] pretty soon, too, so he can get some reps playing basketball. I just think he needs to play basketball. It’s part of it.”
The Celtics face Charlotte on Friday night at TD Garden as they continue their season-long six-game homestand, likely without Garnett, Erden and Jermaine O’Neal.
|Doc Rivers: ‘Concerned’ about Jermaine O’Neal’s knee||01.12.11 at 7:27 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett isn’t the only Celtic player who won’t be able to play Wednesday against the Kings. Jermaine O’Neal will also miss the game after his knee swelled up Wednesday morning. O’Neal missed 19 games with a knee injury, but he returned on Christmas Day and has played in the last 10 games.
O’Neal didn’t play in the second half against in a blowout win over Toronto last Friday, but he played 21 minutes against the Rockets on Monday.
“I’m concerned,” Doc Rivers said. “He’s [played three] weeks now and a practice and his knee swelled up. First of all it has to be extremely frustrating for him because he worked his butt off to get back and he was playing well. And secondly, we all have common sense. That’s a concern. Why is this happening? We have to figure that out.”
Without Garnett and O’Neal the frontcourt depth behind starters Glen Davis and Shaquille O’Neal is down to rookies Semih Erden and Luke Harangody. Rivers is reluctant to play the two of them together, but he may not have a choice because he doesn’t like to play Shaq more than 20 minutes or so.
“In some ways you have no choice,” Rivers said. “It is tougher but we have to do it. At the end of the day [Shaq's] not functioning well because of the extra minutes.”
|Kevin Garnett likely out two more games||at 7:12 pm ET|
The original prognosis for Kevin Garnett‘s return from a strained calf was two weeks. Now it appears that it will take a little longer. Garnett won’t play tonight against the Kings, as expected, but Doc Rivers sounded pessimistic about whether Garnett would be ready to go Friday against the Bobcats. That puts Monday’s game with the Magic as the new target date.
“Eddie [Lacerte, the team's trainer] and I talked about it yesterday and it will really depend on what we do [Thursday],” Rivers said. “My guess [for Friday] is no, because after that we have two days off. My thinking right now, unless he comes out and practices the whole practice and looks great, is probably off Friday too and then probably [play] Monday.”
Rivers is aware that people are questioning the nature of Garnett’s injury, but he insisted that nothing has changed except the timeline. “There’s no conspiracy here or anything like that,” Rivers said. “He’s just taking a little longer than we wanted it to, but it’s not a big deal.”
While Rivers insisted that he’s not concerned that the injury is worse than originally feared, he is concerned about Garnett’s mental state.
“With Kevin because he’s so emotional, you just want to make sure he doesn’t get down about stuff,” Rivers said. “That’s where I’m always concerned with him. Starting with the, ‘Why is this happening to me,’ stuff and you don’t want him to go there, because it’s not a bad injury. But he doesn’t like missing games.”
|Ainge: Rajon Rondo will miss a couple of weeks||12.16.10 at 4:30 pm ET|
Speaking to WEEI’s Big Show, Celtics president Danny Ainge said that he thinks Rajon Rondo will be out for “a couple of weeks” following a sprained ankle he suffered in the fourth quarter of the Celtics 118-116 win over the Knicks Wednesday night.
Rondo had to be helped back to the locker room, but he did return after the game.
“I think that the adrenaline was still flowing,” Ainge said. “I think that Rajon is young, and he feels fast and he loves to play, to his credit. I couldn’t believe he was back on the court last night. He wasn’t moving very well, even when he got back out on the court. You could tell he was still in a lot of pain, and certainly after the game it started puffing up. This morning there was a lot of swelling, and he definitely needs some time off.”
There is obviously no definitive timeline yet as to how long Rondo will be out, but he has been visibly bothered by a growing number of injuries, including plantar fasciitis and a hamstring injury that has caused him to miss four games.
Rondo has steadfastly maintained that he is fine, and his teammates have noted, and appreciated, his toughness. But Wednesday night, even Rondo seemed resigned. “It’s a little bit of everything,” he said with a sigh. “Something new every game. It’s just part of it.”
After the Knicks game, reporters were ushered into the team’s training room in the visiting locker room at Madison Square Garden, a place that is normally off-limits to the press, to talk with Rondo who was sitting on a bench with his left shoe off. “It hurts,” he said. “But all ankle sprains hurt.”
CSNNE’s Greg Dickerson reported that Rondo was on crutches as he made his way to the team bus.
While he expressed his desire to continue playing, few among the Celtics believed that would be possible. Without knowing the extent of the injury, Paul Pierce noted that it didn’t look good.
“He’s been banged up over the last month.,” Pierce said. “There’s probably a slim chance we’ll have him [Thursday]. So, we’ve played a few games without him. We’ve got to make adjustments, that happens. But hey, what’s new for us? We got a lot of guys going down right now, and we keep finding ways.”
In his absence, Nate Robinson has played some of his best games this season. He scored 22 points in a loss against Toronto (the last game the Celtics have lost) and followed that up with a 16-point, 10-assist performance against the Hawks. In a win over New Jersey on Dec. 5, Robinson scored 21 points to go with six assists and six rebounds.
All told, Robinson is shooting 25-for-40 and 11-for-19 from 3-point range in his four starts.
“Nate has been playing very well for us,” Ainge said, “And now he’s going to have to step it up and play more minutes.”
|Report: Rondo and Garnett questionable||12.30.09 at 2:00 pm ET|
CSN New England’s A. Sherrod Blakely is reporting that Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett are both questionable for tonight’s game with the Suns. Per Blakely, Doc Rivers told the press after practice that of the two, Rondo is more likely to play. Rondo is dealing with a sore hamstring. Rivers also said that he may wind up sitting Garnett for the next week, specifically citing a game against Miami on Jan. 6 as a potential target date. That would mean Garnett would miss two games; tonight and Saturday against Toronto.
If Garnett can’t go, Rasheed Wallace would likely get the start in his place. Rivers has been reluctant to play Wallace and Kendrick Perkins together, preferring that each man the center spot, but Wallace started for Garnett against Philadelphia after Garnett came down with a thigh bruise
UPDATE: The Herald’s Steve Bulpett files from Phoenix that the Celtics are saying Garnett’s latest problem is not related to his surgery, but that he got kicked in the knee against the Warriors, Monday.