Barbosa, still fighting flu-like symptoms, back with Celtics

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Barbosa, still fighting flu-like symptoms, back with Celtics

PHILADELPHIA Leandro Barbosa was one of the first players on the floor getting up shots prior to Friday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

It remains to be seen if that's all the action the 6-foot-3 guard gets, as he still recovers from a bout of flu-like symptoms.

"I never had anything like this," Barbosa told CSNNE.com. "This was pretty bad, pretty bad."

Barbosa said he spent some time in a hospital getting four bags of fluids intravenously, which prompted doctors to want to keep him in the hospital overnight.

"But I said no. I didn't want to do that," Barbosa said. "Like I said, I never had anything like this, this bad before."

Even though he is with the team, Barbosa said he doesn't know if coach Doc Rivers will play him.

"My body is still a little weak," Barbosa said. "I'm definitely feeling better, a lot better than I was before. But I'm still not feeling like me, yet."

Barbosa, one of the top reserves off the Celtics bench this season, missed a pair of practices due to his illness, which limited him to just four seconds of action in Boston's 104-94 win over Minnesota on Wednesday.

Patriots pregame rituals: Step-by-step with the players on game day

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Patriots pregame rituals: Step-by-step with the players on game day

What goes through Dont'a Hightower’s mind in the minutes before he takes the field and lowers himself into a cauldron of collisions, pain and exultation?

Not a thing.

“I rest. I literally rest,” said the Patriots Pro Bowl inside linebacker. “I don’t do anything else. I sit at my locker, I don’t listen to music. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary. I don’t look at film, I don’t look at notes. I’m just relaxed. Calm before the storm. I’ve done enough preparing, I’ve done enough notes, I’ve done enough of that stuff during the week. If I don’t know it by now, I don’t know it. It’s not gonna help me last minute. It’s only gonna make me play slower.”

By the time an NFL team hits the field – in the Patriots case, runs out of a giant, inflatable helmet while Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” blares – they are primped, polished, taped and glistening.

But what is their day like leading up to that? I asked a few Patriots to take me through their game-day prep from wakeup to anthem to give me insight into what we don’t see.  

You can hear Hightower, Nate Solder, Alan Branch, Devin McCourty and Rob Ninkovich detail the steps they take to get game-ready. French toast is involved. So are naps. And sock preparation.

It all builds to that moment of theater that Ninkovich says is what players truly miss when they leave the game – that feeling of euphoria.

“When we finally get to run out, that’s the most exciting time in the world,” says Solder. “The crowd wasn’t there earlier when we went out there and all of a sudden, the crowd is there. Very exciting, very fun, especially with the guys you work so hard with.”

Says McCourty, “I always think when I run out of the tunnel to look up and say, ‘Thank you’ just to be able to play.”

Listen to them tell their stories here:

Belichick's game-day ritual: 'Try to coach and play good'

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Belichick's game-day ritual: 'Try to coach and play good'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick was not in any mood to start revealing his behind-the-scenes pre-kickoff routine on game-days. The air of focus he's exhibited during his media-availability periods this week continued on Friday, particularly when he was asked about his Sunday rituals. 

When a reporter wondered if there was anything in particular Belichick does before a game, he initially said simply, "No."

A follow-up about superstitions was tossed Belichick's way next. He swatted that aside as well.

"Try to play and coach good," he explained. "Goes a long way."

There you have it. An easy-step-by-step guide on how to approach a game like a future Hall-of-Famer.