|Ainge still resting comfortably||04.17.09 at 11:35 am ET|
WALTHAM – There has been no update so far today on the condition of Danny Ainge, who was reported to be resting comfortably after suffering a mild heart attack on Thursday morning. Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said the team had not heard anything new from his family on Friday.
WCVB-TV first reported that Ainge had 100 percent blockage in an artery, which was treated with the insertion of a stent at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com and Foxsports.com confirmed the report through Ainge’s son Austin that the Celtics’ Vice President of Basketball Operations suffered a heart attack and is resting comfortably after being taken to the hospital early Thursday morning.
The team issued this statement on Ainge’s condition on Thursday evening: “Danny Ainge is recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital after having a minor heart attack. He is recovering nicely. Mr. Ainge is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.”
Meanwhile, the team began practice at 11 this morning in Waltham in a final preparation for Game 1 of their series with Chicago on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 at TD Banknorth Garden.
|Pierce: We’re still capable of winning a championship||04.16.09 at 4:37 pm ET|
But to quote the man himself, “Anything is Possible!!!”
Paul Pierce has been prepping himself for this possibility all along, or at least since Garnett went down for a second time in mid-March with the right knee injury.
“Last 10 to 12 games, if Kevin comes back or if he doesn’t, we have to be mentally prepared for it,” Pierce said. “That’s the way I approached these games coming down to (the end) of the season.”
As a matter of fact, the Celtics finished 16-7 this season in the 23 games without their emotional leader. They even won 10 of 11 without him after losing to Orlando to capture the No. 2 seed in the East.
“You feel bad for a guy who wants to be out there, wants to help his teammates in the playoffs. I know it’s hurting him more than it’s hurting us,” Pierce said.
Pierce believes the team, with shooters like himself, Ray Allen and Eddie House and inside players like Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis are more than capable of picking up enough slack.
“Now the guys know he’s probably not going to play, we have to move forward with what we got,” Pierce said. “Guys have to be ready to step up. That’s about it. We’ve been playing without him for quite a while so we know we’re still a pretty good team and capable of winning a championship.”
As for those who doubt the Celtics have any chance at all of even reaching the NBA Finals to defend their title, Pierce hardly sounded like a man whose feelings have been hurt.
“There’s always going to be doubters,” Pierce said. “That’s something we don’t really worry about. We know what we have in this room and we know what we do when we play well and that’s all that really matters right now. It’s going to be an uphill battle of course not having Kevin but that’s how we like it.”
|Bench support||at 2:46 pm ET|
WALTHAM – After dealing with the stunning news delivered by their head coach that Kevin Garnett has probably played his final game this season, Celtics players are making one final demand of their best defensive player and emotional leader.
“That’s where I need him to be I need him to be on the bench because if he can’t be on the floor, he can be valuable to us on the bench,” Ray Allen said. “In a lot of instances it’s like he is on the floor. I will push as hard as I possibly can because his voice over there on the bench will be just like he is in the game.”
And just before Thursday’s practice, head coach Doc Rivers assured Allen and the rest of the Celtics that Garnett will indeed be there starting Saturday afternoon at 12:30 when they open a first-round series with Chicago.
“Yeah, he will be, he will be,” Rivers said. “That’s the one thing I told him. During the playoffs, we need everybody in there, out on the floor, in the locker room and on the bench. We just hope he doesn’t get a technical.”
Garnett has often said that he’s afraid how he’ll handle himself when he can only watch. But they are all asking KG to make an exception this time because of the lift it could give during the passion-driven playoffs.
The team’s captain also feels strongly about Garnett’s value to the bench.
“It’s very important because of the way guys look at Kevin,” said Paul Pierce. “He’s an unquestioned leader of this ball club and he can help us just by being on the bench, seeing some of the things he sees out there and giving his knowledge of the game, especially to the other big guys. So I think it’ll be huge.”
Whether it’s Allen or Pierce or even coach Doc Rivers, everyone around Garnett is well aware of his dislike for being on the bench during games.
And don’t think for a second that Allen doesn’t feel for his fallen teammate who will be reduced to cheerleader.
“I’m devastated for him,” Allen said. “This is the time of year we all wait for. The excitement is in the air. This is where players are made, teams are made and legacies are cemented and for him not to be a part of this, I hurt for him.”
|Scal could return by Game 3||at 2:28 pm ET|
WALTHAM – While the news on Kevin Garnett was gloomy on Thursday afternoon, there was one ray of hope as Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there’s a 50-50 chance Brian Scalabrine could return by Game 3 of the series with Chicago.
“Scal is a positive sign,” Rivers said. “He gets to do 2-on-2 (drills) and things like that today. He’s definitely out for the first two games. There’s a 50 percent chance that he can play by Game 3 but that’s if everything goes perfect.”
Scalabrine suffered a pair of concussions days apart in late February and hasn’t played since while recovering from post-concussion syndrome. He missed the final 24 games of the regular season.
|Rivers at practice: There’s just no way||at 1:50 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Furthering his comments made first to WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan this morning, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before his team’s practice today that Kevin Garnett is all but out for the playoffs.
“It’s not official if he’s out for the entire playoffs but it’s official as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said. “He looked better last week than he did today. I was convinced there wasn’t going to be a minute limitation but there’s no way, just no way.”
|KG needs bone spur surgery||at 1:46 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Once Kevin Garnett’s season does come to an end, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the star will need surgery on a bone spur in his right knee that is not related to the knee injury suffered on Feb. 19 in Utah.
“We knew he needed (surgery) before that injury ever happened,” Rivers said. Rivers also said that Garnett has been asked by the team to be on the bench during the playoffs for emotional support. Garnett was at the practice facility but did not speak about his injury.
|Rivers: Garnett out first round, likely playoffs||at 9:56 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan this morning that Kevin Garnett has been ruled out of the first round and likely will be out for the playoffs with lingering soreness and pain in his right knee.
Rivers made the decision after watching Garnett limp during running exercises this morning at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
“He’s not going to be ready,” Rivers told Dennis and Callahan. “After watching him run, there’s no way. So, we’re going to move without him. And the way I saw him move today, I don’t know if he’ll be ready.
“He’s just limping. He just can’t run. This was an honest run today. You couldn’t fake your way through it. The guy’s a warrior, you could see him trying to mask it but after 20 minutes of running, there’s just no way.”
This news comes just over 12 hours after Rivers told reporters he expected Garnett to be ready for Saturday’s playoff opener.
“I flipped completely because I was watching him move and he looked great,” Rivers said. “And then after today, there’s just no way.”
Garnett has played just four games since injuring the right knee on Feb. 19 at Utah. He has been working with head trainer Ed Lacerte trying to get the knee ready for the rigors of the playoffs.
Asked if ruling Garnett out for the first round means the star forward is likely done for the entire playoffs, Rivers didn’t hesitate.
“I think it is,” Rivers added. “I don’t know that as a fact yet. Eddie is doing everything he can to get him on the court and Kevin is going beyond that. But at this point, after going through all the rehab and looking so good last week, and he was running last week and it looked like he was running pretty well, to where he’s at today, if he can’t get through biking and working out without swelling and stiffness and his leg locking, I just don’t know how you can play in the playoffs.”