The Celtics got together for their last practice in Waltham today for about ten days, as they will head to Brooklyn tomorrow to start their four-game road trip in New York on Christmas, before finishing the road slate with a slew of opponents (Clippers, Warriors, Kings) out west.
One player that will not be with the team for the trip is center Chris Wilcox. The big man had fallen out of the rotation for the time being after Tuesday’s loss against Chicago, but he appears to have a suffered a somewhat serious thumb injury during that setback. Here’s Chris Forsberg from ESPNBoston with more on the diagnosis:
Chris Wilcox will miss nearly a month with an ulnar collateral sprain in his right thumb, according to coach Doc Rivers.
Wilcox injured the thumb on Tuesday in Chicago and has sat out the last two games, though Rivers had admitted he was going to lean on other bigs given Wilcox’s recent defensive struggles. Now the injury will keep him on the shelf.
“Chris is out; he’s out for a while,” Rivers said after the team’s practice on Sunday. “I don’t know how long, but the first report I got was three to four weeks.”
Don’t look for the C’s to add any additional big bodies for this trip yet, even though the team will be shorthanded with just four big men on the roster. Fab Melo, fresh off a triple-double last night in Maine, will not be called up either, as the Syracuse star is nowhere close to NBA ready at this point. Here’s more from Doc on the team needs bigs:
“Obviously that’s the one position where they don’t grow on trees. You just have to be patient. Obviously we need another big with Chris out, but I don’t know if we’ll get another big on this trip.”
For now, it’s on Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger and Jason Collins to hold their own for the next few weeks. Look for a lot more Jeff Green at the four at times as well. More in the good news department, on the potential return of Avery Bradley sooner rather than later, after the jump
The third-year guard went through his second full practice in a week today in Waltham with no issues on either of his surgically repaired shoulders. Barring a setback, Doc talked about the possibility of Bradley returning before his target date of January 2nd. (Via Forsberg)
“I think there’s a chance [he’ll play on the trip], but I don’t know what the chances are,” said Rivers. “I haven’t talked to anybody. The fact that he went through, again, today’s practice great … I don’t know, I just try to stay out of that. Because he’s close and I don’t want anyone feeling like I’m pressuring them — Avery or, more importantly, the doctors. Because Avery wants to play. I guarantee he wants to play the next game. But that’s something that I try to stay away from.”
With the challenging backcourts lined up for the C’s on this trip, Bradley’s return could be just the Christmas present the C’s ordered to contain the likes of Chris Paul and Steph Curry later this week. For a team that needs a jumpstart at the moment, look for Bradley to get the green light right away if he’s cleared.
Jeff Green also took part in the practice, sporting a nice shiner under his left eye. He also chipped multiple teeth, but will be good to go for the Brooklyn game. Leandro Barbosa remains away from the team, and will miss Tuesday’s game for personal reasons according to the C’s, but should be back with the team in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Much more on Bradley coming tomorrow…