Garnett ejected for hit on Hansbrough

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Garnett ejected for hit on Hansbrough

BOSTON Kevin Garnett spent the latter part of Friday's 94-75 win over Indiana as a spectator, but it wasn't quite how he would have envisioned it.

Instead of on the bench, Garnett was back inside the C's locker room after being ejected with 8:24 to play and the Celtics sitting on top of a commanding 78-55 lead.

The incident involved Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough who was hit in the face by Garnett while pump-faking before going up for a shot attempt.

Officials reviewed the play afterward and called Garnett for a flagrant-two foul which is an automatic ejection.

"I've got nothing to say about it," said Hansbrough who led all scorers with 19 points off the bench. "It is what it is."

After the game, Garnett gave his version of what happened.

"I was firm," Garnett said. "I didn't mean to get him in the face like that. I was trying to swipe the ball. It was a physical game; that's what it was, part of the game."

As Boston's lead continued to swell, the level of physical play also increased.

Aware of this, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was about to take Garnett out of the game and replace him with Brandon Bass who at the time of the incident, was at the scorer's table.

Naturally, Rivers wasn't thrilled about seeing one of his players ejected.

But in hindsight, it might have been the best thing for all involved.

"Listen, there was so much crap going on at that point, I just think Cape (lead official Jim Capers) has been around the league a long time and I think he was thinking, 'I'm going to do Kevin a favor and get him out of here,'" Rivers said. "Because it was getting chippy."

Rivers added, "I really think sometimes that's what officials do, and you can't blame them for it."

Capers knows a thing or two about the Celtics being involved in chippy games.

He was the lead official during the incident between the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 28 that led to Rajon Rondo being suspended for two games after he and Nets big man Kris Humphries got into it.

The Celtics got the win and Garnett got a chance to get some added rest even if it'll cost him 2,000 (the cost of being ejected).

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

Hanley Ramirez is getting a night off as the Red Sox look for their third straight win against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.

Travis Shaw will play first base, with Brock Holt at third.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Andrew Benintendi LF
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Rick Porcello P

RAYS:
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SH
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
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Matt Andriese P