Okay, folks. We know the deal. You’re waiting for the turkey to be ready so you can consume a couple thousand tasty calories. But in the meantime you have to deal with your overbearing Uncle Jim, who’s determined to make clear how disappointed he is in the choices you’ve made in your life but who’s also offering you a way out if you’ll just invest a teeeeny bit of cash in his surefire West African moneymaking scheme, that may or may not be entirely legal, but you shouldn’t worry because he has a one-armed Nigerian guy down there named Juan, who he assures you is totally trustworthy because the police have never been able to pin anything on him –
Who needs this?
There’s basketball to focus on.
Over at the Globe, Gary Washburn tracked down Danny Ainge last night. Ainge seems ready to ride out the current injury wave without making a roster move:
Ainge, in a phone interview from the Maui Invitational in Hawaii, said the club has no plans to make any roster moves to replace West. The Celtics have 15 players on their roster and only West and Von Wafer have non-guaranteed contracts. Ainge said the club will not immediately search for another guard.
“We like our guys, and Avery [Bradley] is starting to get healthy and Avery and Von are going to have to step up and play,’’ Ainge said. “In order to make a move we’d have to let someone go and we like our guys. It’s tragic for Delonte. Basketball is a very important part of his life. I hate to see this happen. But Delonte will be able to return late in the season to help us.’’
Washburn also has some information on the ankle injury that has bedeviled Avery Bradley the last six months.
Bradley acknowledged that his left ankle injury was more than just a bad sprain. Bradley took a bad fall during a predraft workout for the Thunder last June, then wound up having surgery in July. He said last night that doctors removed a large bone chip during the procedure.
The severity of the injury may have scared off some teams from drafting Bradley — the Celtics took him at No. 19 — and he is just getting back to 100 percent.
Jessica Camerato at CSNNE focuses in on Von Wafer’s effective stat-less stretch last night:
On Wednesday night Delonte West broke his wrist on a drive to the basket. Rivers projects West could be sidelined until the playoffs, leaving a gap in the Celtics backcourt.
Wafer started the fourth quarter and played during a five-minute stretch in which the Celtics went on a critical 9-4 run. Even though his box score reads zeros in every category, he provided a necessary spark off the bench.
“Von Wafer — his stat line’s going to say he did basically nothing — I thought his defensive energy was phenomenal,” said Rivers. “It was great for Von in the locker room. Everybody was grabbing him . . . because ‘defense’ and ‘Von’ can now go together. And that’s a great thing.”
Kevin Garnett called Wafer “electric.” Rivers watched his words of encouragement pay off.
“After the game [Doc] tapped me and said, ‘See what I told you?’ ” Wafer told CSNNE.com. “So I’ve just got to stay ready and I’m just happy to be part of this. There’s something special going on.”
More holiday treats after the jump.
During the CSNNE broadcast last night, Celtics sideline reporter Greg Dickerson checked in with an update on Jermaine O’Neal, quoting Doc Rivers, who said, “Unless he’s running really well, he will not play in another game.”
Pretty disheartening stuff – especially because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen O’Neal do any running that could be described as “really well”. Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston fields a question on JO in his Thanksgiving Day mailbag:
Q: It doesn’t seem like Jermaine O’Neal will ever be 100 percent this season and Semih Erden appears to have a somewhat serious shoulder injury that he’s playing through. With the injury history/minutes limitations of Shaq, how big of a concern is the center position going forward, at least until Kendrick Perkins is healthy again? — JMoney (Boston)
A: Rivers admitted earlier this month that his team is essentially hanging on, just hoping it can tough it out until Perkins returns. Not exactly the situation you want in November. Here’s the thing: If both Perkins and Jermaine O’Neal can get healthy again by, say, the All-Star break, then all of a sudden you’ve actually created a bit of a log jam up front (as we noted above, another injury could un-jam that quickly). It’d be tough to spread out minutes to both O’Neals, Glen Davis, Perkins, and Erden. So the Celtics could roll the dice at that point and send Erden in for surgery to repair his shoulder issue (which is believed to be a labrum). The risk there: What happens if one of the others is injured before the postseason and suddenly the team needs an Erden-like fill-in? That’s why Erden might have to tough out the entire season with that injury. The scary situation is if Shaq or Erden are injured before Perkins and Jermaine O’Neal can return, then the Celtics might be forced to examine options, including ones outside the organization.
And closer to the holiday at hand, Steve Bulpett reminds us again of the sacrifices Rivers makes to manage his dual roles as family man and Celtics Coach:
“Well, it’s not easy,” Rivers said. “It’s always difficult when you leave, especially after a holiday. When you travel to go to a game or something, that’s not as hard. But holidays are always tough.
“Christmas and Thanksgiving are hard. You have dinner and then you have to jump on a plane at 6.”
After six-plus seasons of in-season fatherhood on the fly, he should be used to it now. But when it comes to bidding goodbye to the wife and children, the repetition has little or no effect.
“It’s the same,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t get any easier. It is what it is.”
Rivers and wife Kris long ago made the decision to keep the family rooted while dad chases banners in Boston. The continuity was good for the children, who were established with their friends and schools and early athletic situations. And it was probably a good thing the kids didn’t have to hear the abuse their father took when the Celtics didn’t have good enough players and he was, thus, a dumb coach who deserved to be fired at midcourt.
He has since tried to make it to important games and other key occasions, traveling so often that the flight path between Boston and Orlando should be known as Rivers Road.
And while the goodbyes remain difficult, the coach has improved his rationalization skills.
“You know, it can be a good transition, too,” Rivers said. “It can be kind of nice in a way. Whenever I do go home, I get a chance to sit on the plane for five hours (combined down and back) by myself and do work.
“And pulling myself away from this helps me in the real world. So in some ways it’s good therapy.”
And that might be an appropriate place to end today except it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we didn’t spend a little time counting our blessings, er, reveling in the misfortune of others.
On that note – did you see the Miami Heat last night?
They continued their epic, triumphant quest for 72 wins with a 104-95 loss to the Orlando Magic. The Heat sit at 8-7, a far cry from even the most pessimistic expectations heading into the season. Michael Wallace of ESPN’s Heat Index, looks at the machinations that might take place if Coach Erik Spoelstra does end up on the unemployment line in the next few months. (Poor Spoelstra – he must feel like he’s trapped in a George Orwell novel these days…)
The process would likely play out something like this: Heat team president Pat Riley will hang up the phone after speaking with owner Micky Arison, then take the 20 or so steps down the hall from his glass-encased suite overlooking Biscayne Bay to Spoelstra’s office outside the practice court. Riley would then be forced to make what would be the most uncomfortable decision of his Hall of Fame career.
Does Spo have to go?
If so, the Heat’s media relations staff will simply open the doors of the AmericanAirlines Arena practice facility, dozens of reporters will file in as usual, and Riley will be dressed in nylon shorts, a coaching shirt and a low-top pair of his classic Nike shoes, pushing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh through the tail end of a grueling workout.
How does change happen with the Miami Heat? With as little advance notice as possible.
If Spoelstra is lucky, he might get the courtesy of a formal press conference to convey his gratitude for the opportunity to learn from Riley the past 15 years and coach Wade, James and Bosh over the past few months. Spoelstra would then reluctantly embrace the freedom to explore new horizons.
And on that note, we bid you farewell until tomorrow when the Celtics host the Raptors for a little Black Friday revenge.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S.
And if old Uncle Jim is telling the truth about that lost Nigerian fortune, I trust you’ll let me know.