A few odds and ends out of Waltham tonight as the C’s had their first practice since returning from their west coast road trip. Chris Forsberg ofESPNBoston.com gets us caught up with a few of the details:
Shaq sits out session: Shaquille O’Neal did not participate in Thursday’s practice with Rivers noting, “He’s 38,” as the reason for his absence, before revealing a slightly more troubling ailment. “”I think it’s his Achilles, it’s inflamed,” said Rivers. “So we’ll see. We may play him [Friday vs. the Mavericks], we may not.” Center Kendrick Perkins, who spent time after practice jumping rope like a boxer preparing for a prizefight, admitted he’s somewhat surprised by his own conditioning and ability to jump right back into heightened activity in the five games he logged since returning from offseason ACL surgery. With Shaq questionable Friday, Perkins could be thrust into the starting lineup by default, a spot he’s seemingly nearing a return to, anyhow.
West takes another step in recovery: Reserve guard Delonte West participated in non-contact drills at the start of Thursday’s session, but remains a ways off from returning to heightened activities. West suggested he’s hoping to get back into full-contact drills in practice before the All-Star break, which could keep him in line for a return in late February.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shaq sit for tomorrow night. He’s clearly struggling with the hip injury (10 points and 12 fouls in last 4 games as old friend Zach Lowe pointed out). The team needed him out west, but now with Perk clearly capable of handling 25-30 minutes a game and Semih able to produce off the bench as well, give the big man his rest and save him for Sunday or however long he needs.
As for Delonte, more good news he’s progressing but they key is patience here people. Take it from me, the wrist expert, rehab on the bone takes a loooong time especially for mobility purposes. Don’t expect this game back before the end of the month. The team can and needs to be cautious with him to avoid any chance of re-injury.
Reports on the All-Stars tonight when they are announced, hopefully featuring four Celtics!