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.