Post-game Reactions

Six-game homestands really come in handy for a Boston Celtics team that had only practiced three times in the last month before Tuesday. Thanks to that extended stay, the gang got together in Waltham for their second full practice in three days after a convincing win last night against Sacramento.

Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com was on the scene as always and gives us some more doom and gloom regarding the C’s big man situation:

* We’ll start with Jermaine O’Neal. J.O. has missed 23 games this year with a lingering sore knee injury, including last night where he sat out after the knee swelled up on him Wednesday morning once again.

Ryan gave you the lowdown in his prior post on Jermaine’s contemplation of surgery and after a MRI this afternoon, Doc Rivers made it apparent that the surgery route is a likely one (Via Forsberg):

“My guess is he’s going to have to do something; I don’t know that, but I’m using my doctorate,” joked Rivers, who has always been fond of noting that ‘Doc’ is merely his nickname. “My guess is that he’ll probably have to do something.”

Combine that with what Doc said about the situation last night and you can put two and two together:

“I’m concerned,” said Rivers. “Listen, he’s gone two weeks now and a practice, and his knee swelled up. First off, it has to be extremely frustrating for him. He worked his butt off to get back and he’s playing well. Secondly, we all have common sense and that’s the concern: Why is this happening? We have to figure that out.”

A couple things on this probable scenario of J.O. going under the knife. First,

1) We aren’t sure what kind of surgery we are talking about here, but you would expect at minimum, O’Neal will be missing at least six weeks, given how much the injury has been bothering him. He was given rest as a first option, and that was for about four weeks, so you can expect any kind of surgery to sideline him for a bit more than that, potentially for the year depending on the severity of the problem. Again, still just speculation at this point, but something to keep in mind so we know what we are dealing with here.

2) Take it easy on JO

A lot of readers, commenters have been tough on O’Neal upon hearing this news of another relapse. Now don’t get me wrong, this guy has been a disappointment thus far and Doc Rivers has taken some thinly veiled shots at him throughout the year during his rehab. With that said though, that earlier quote from last night was completely genuine about O’Neal’s frustration.

Since coming back, O’Neal had been playing a lot better for this team as he shook off some rust these past few weeks, while shoring up the interior defense. The guy was gutting it out and all of our skepticism about the intital injury (mine included) is now beginning to appear foolish with it cropping up again. There’s a lot of miles on those tires, so like Garnett, O’Neal was due to break down at some point. Let’s just hope it’s not for the year.

3) Roster Help?

With KG and O’Neal down for the time being, the C’s big man depth chart is on extremely thin ice, with just one more injury putting them in a pretty daunting hole. Expect no moves to be made for the time being, but I’ll have much more tomorrow on how this roster could change shape once the long-term injured bodies (Perk, West) coming back could lead to a move or two being made.

* Back to the practice news for the time being. Kevin Garnett did take part in “at least half of practice” according to Rivers. He will sit out for Friday night’s home contest against Charlotte, a game that will not be the walkover most would expect, with the Paul Silas led Bobcats winning five in a row, including last night over Chicago. Here’s Doc again on KG:

“[Garnett] went through probably half the practice — more than that actually — and looked pretty good,” said Rivers. “No, he’s not playing [Friday]. He looked pretty good; He actually, besides his wind and stuff, his movements were very good.”

Asked if he could be back in the starting lineup for Monday’s showdown with visiting Orlando, Rivers seemed more optimistic about that.

“Maybe, I want to see him another practice,” said Rivers. “He’s getting close.”

He’s been getting close for a week now…..I don’t see a Monday return as a guarantee. With O’Neal out for awhile, and Shaq probably not fully healthy either, this team can take NO chances with Garnett.

* Semih Erden also sat out practice with a sore groin that he likely aggravated in his 30+ minutes last night. The Turkish rookie has been gutting it out through injuries all year and looked solid against an underwhelming Kings team yesterday. Expect him to play tomorrow, as the team gets everything they can out of him before reinforcements arrive. If there’s anyone they are willing to play hurt at this point in the year, it’s Semih.

* Finally, Avery Bradley will be sent down to the D-League on Friday according to Rivers (Via ESPNBoston)

“We’re going to send Avery down pretty soon,” said Rivers. “So that he can get some reps; Playing basketball. He needs to play basketball. Especially with our schedule and the fact that we don’t practice at all.”

Makes sense to me, although it would leave the C’s just dressing 11 guys overall until KG comes back. It should be clear though at this point, Bradley needs plenty of seasoning on the offensive end to make any kind of impact in the next couple years. And sitting on the bench for a team that strategically doesn’t practice much doesn’t seem to be a good way to improve in that department.

That’s all for now, we will keep you posted on any new developments on the big men. In the meantime, get ready for some Marquis Daniels/Paul Pierce action at the 4 spot in the interim.

The following two tabs change content below.

Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
Share →
  • SteveB

    I really hope they don't give up on Avery. He seems a unique talent like Rondo and I can even see him playing alongside Rondo a few years from now. I know Jermaine talked about retiring sooner than later so it would be interesting if he takes that option to open things up for the Celtic's roster. I've never thought Jermaine made the most of his talent but I believe he is genuinely hurt. Why would you get to this point in your career with this opportunity and not want to try to get that ring?

    • Downtown

      Agreed. However questionable a reference it may be, last night Avery looked downright excited. Give him a couple more opportunities like last night to get his confidence up, and in a few years maybe have him run the second unit. He's not going anywhere. As far as JO in regards to the Sheed rumors, would it be a worthwhile move to push JO into retirement to bring in Sheed? He may be out of shape, but JO won't be giving us minutes any time soon…food for thought

    • Steff

      Who said anything about giving up on Bradley? Doc knows that Bradley needs the minutes to be a better player, but he's not getting any here because of our deep bench. Shuffling him to the D-League will give him the experience he needs. Besides, the Celtics can always recall him back when they need him.

      And who are they going to get if they open up the roster? Sheed? I just don't see it happening yet.

    • zebulon

      Agree 100% that Avery could play alongside Rondo – he isn't quite large enough to be a SG, but with his defensive ability, athleticism, and long arms – I think he could guard 2's pretty well. Probably not as a full time starter, but as a 24 minute a night guy, playing half of his time as the off-guard (both on offense and defense) could work really well.

      Plus, I don't ever see him being much of a creator (I mean – just watch him on offense), but if he regains the jumpshot he had in college, he could be excellent paired next to rondo or delonte.

  • ElRoz

    I'm just glad Danny Ainge is a nice guy and helped JO out by signing him for lots of money and without much testing and checking or giving him a real physical…you don't see that often among GMs.

    This knee problem must have come out of nowhere I guess…JO has been a model of health and consistency the last years of his career; just look how well he played against Boston in the first round last year…so naturally Miami fought for him this year and tried to retain him….

    Well, Boston is down to 1/2 a center again…at least Shaq and JO could somehow get you 12 points and about 6-7 rebounds combined a game…now its just Shaq and his 2-3 boards a game.

    That answers the question as to "who should start, etc" when Perk comes back…Boston will be lucky to have Perk and Shaq healthy…never mind Semih and JO….they are breaking down even though they play limited minutes and it is not even mid season!

    • hdavenport

      Remember when we were seriously considering continuing to start Shaq when Perkins came back? I feel like I was five years old when I gave that actual thought.

  • Morpheus

    What are the odds on Sheed coming back?

    • Ryan DeGama

      Improved, I suppose, although Sheed is really just more of the same: an older big with health/conditioning issues. The failure to snag an energy big, a la Amir Johnson or someone of his ilk, is unfortunate (if understandable). Between that and some redundancy at the small positions, I wonder if we're headed for a couple of roster moves over the next month.

      • Zee

        Undoubtedly. Maybe there are some quality bigs in D-League? We need some against the Magic and Lakers. Howard, Pau and Andrew are looking great lately.

        • I_Love_Green

          LASME!!!!!!! No nevermind he's injured…

          MAGNUM ROLLE!!!!

        • zebulon

          Just wish WE had been the team to call up Anthony Tolliver last year – dude can ball, proved he could ball in the D-league, then in Golden State, and now on the T-wolves. He can stroke the 3 and Rambis called him the wolves best positional defender (before he got hurt).

          And to think we could have called him up last season, and had the mobile-big-with-range we thought we got with the Sheed signing.

  • Jmt


  • The Celtics are actually 18-2 without Jermaine O'Neal. Averaging a week 5 ppg, 4 rpg and 1 block per game in almost 20 minutes per game.

  • JP-

    JO was playing better, its unfortunate that he got injured…again. We need Perk to come back without any set backs.

  • Carlos R

    What a waste of time. So much time waiting for O'Neal and now this. I know it's not his fault, but this is bad news. Forget about Jermaine for this season and start looking for another big for the remaining of the season, but please don't call Shaq unless he's willing to play play for three daily meals.

    • AussieCeltic

      Three daily meals!? That would be cutting back for Shaq!!

  • Looks like Ainge's gamble didn't really pay off. Come to think of it, Ainge really did gamble big didn't he – with a way past his prime Shaq AND 2-shot-knees JO. Perhaps Ainge shouldn't have bitten off more than he could chew!

    • TedL

      Don't think the verdict's in yet. Remember that before KG and Rondo went down, Shaq was playing extremely efficient ball because the team knew how to get the most out of his limited abilities. There was even talk about him being an all-star. That was ridiculous – he didn't deserve to be an all-star – but it's a measure of how well he was doing in the role he'd been assigned. 20 minutes a game, give 4-6 hard fouls, convert a very high percentage at the rim, and get fouled often enough to put the Cs in the bonus.

      • NHBluesMan

        last i checked Shaq is still 2nd in voting for the center position in the All-Star game… but thats more because he's Shaq than his playing

      • That is true – Shaq gives them a 'presence' on the inside that they lacked in the past. Additionally, he draws fouls (not to mention commits them as well) which helps put the Celts in the bonus. After all is said and done, we will only know whether the gamble/decision is validated come playoff time.

    • CG12

      No, he didn't gamble big. What was so big about it? It wasn't like they passed up on players who were a sure thing, in order to get Shaq and JO. Shaq signed for the minimum and JO signed for the MLE, which the team would have used on someone, in any event. They needed a big guy and figured that a relatively healthy JO was way better than the other options out there, which was true. The only gamble was that they surely knew his knees may or may not hold up, but why not take a shot on someone who might provide major returns, rather than getting someone who is healthy, but would never provide much, even in the best circumstances. They had Shaq, they have Perk coming back. If JO didn't pan out (and it looks like he won't) then they lose little except some of ownership's money. This is exactly the sort of smart decision balancing risk vs. return that good ownership and management make.

      • zebulon

        100% agreed. JO was very healthy (and extremely effective) last year for Miami. He's significantly younger than big-3, but has played a ton of minutes because he was drafted out of high school. There could possibly have been better ways to spend the MLE (Anthony Tolliver + Matt Barnes signed for a combined 4million in minnesota and LA), but they didn't have near the upside, skill, or defensive ability of Jermaine.

      • Fair point on signing JO for the MLE. However, when was the last time that JO made a positive contribution to the team? For the life of me, I can't remember that far back. So on that basis, the likelihood of him making a positive impact for the Celts was rather slim. Therefore, whilst a smart decision, wouldn't Boston have been better off going for a safer option where you know what you are getting?

    • ElRoz

      yes…the gamble didn't pay off fully…but imagine if he had not gambled? I mean, there was not that much out there for the center-pf position….Kwame Brown wanted more money! Boston got Shaq instead for a vet minimum…a better choice….Haywood and Brad Miller seemed to want to go elsewhere and/or for more money….I was hoping they get Dampier – but that just shows how limited the chocies are…Dampier doesn't look very good on the floor right now….

      Danny did stack up with Shaq, Jermaine, Semih…so that was wise ….there might not have been any other way to stem the inevitable injury wave…

      If they could get somebody to plug in for 10-12 minutes a game along with Shaq and Semih…I'll take it…but who?

      Sheed? He better go inside and stop jacking up those threes….oh, and is he in shape?

      Maybe Boston cann survive with Shaq and Semih…then add Perk…..maybe JO can play every other game and stay somehwat effective?

  • ego roots

    The need for Sheed…

  • NHBluesMan

    i don't know why everyone keeps talking about Sheed… wishful thinking in my opinion. If he couldn't get himself into game-shape while PLAYING the game, there is no way he would be able to come back and give us anything… besides technical fouls (he would probably set a new personal record in half a season)

    if anything, i say the C's call up a D-leaguer (man do i wish Lasme was healthy!) and just keep the minutes down for the other guys… otherwise… are there any free agents out there who could make much of a difference for us?

  • DRJ1

    Why bother doing all this work in the hope of getting JO back in shape? (a) His history of coming back from surgery is pretty bad. He's STILL recovering from the last one in 2007. (b) The probability that he will be able to contribute this season is tiny, if he has surgery. (c) Next year might not happen, and is at least pretty tenuous, due to the CBA deadlock. JO only has a 2-year contract. (d) Even if there is a (partial?) year in 11-12, can we reasonably expect much from JO if he has surgery again? So…. why bother?

    Wouldn't it make more sense to 1) recognize that we lost the JO gamble, and 2) move to cut our losses by negotiating the best buyout we can with him — right now? The team would save money, and open a roster spot that's going to be dead anyway.

    Sounds good to me. Anybody have another pov?

    • keltic

      agree 100%

    • zebulon

      Buying out jermaine saves (some) money and a roster spot, nothing else. Could possibly be slightly helpful down the road to have those assets, but really the best that gets us is a a retired or D-league player, neither of which is more appealing than Jermaine O'Neal, no matter how badly he plays or his likely injury prognosis.

      The dude is only 31!