Varnado happy to be in Brooklyn with Celtics for holidays

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Varnado happy to be in Brooklyn with Celtics for holidays

BROOKLYN, N.Y. Christmas came a little early this year for Jarvis Varnado, the newest member of the Boston Celtics.

The 6-foot-9 rookie was signed by the C's this week after a strong showing with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls Skyforce.

"Playing in the NBA someday is what you always dream of," Varnado told CSNNE.com moments before stepping on to the floor for the first time as a member of the Boston Celtics. "I'm really happy right now."

Varnado described his arrival in Boston as being a whirlwind of a courtship that came together in a matter of hours.

"I came in for a workout on Sunday, and I thought it went pretty good," he said. "I talked to a couple of people and they said they (Celtics) were thinking about signing me and I later got the phone call from my agent to confirm it."

The addition of Varnado took on an even greater importance after the C's learned that a thumb injury to Chris Wilcox would sideline him for about a month. Couple that with Darko Milicic being waived to be with his ailing mother, and the need for another big was obvious.

Varnado's goal is to do whatever he can to not just play well, but play well enough that the C's will want to keep him around for the rest of the season.

"I know my role; just do what I do best; rebound and block shots and bring that energy to the floor," Varnado said.

In 10 games with the Skyforce, Varnado averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and a league-best 3.9 blocked shots per game.

A three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Mississippi State, he finished his collegiate career as the NCAA's all-time leader in blocked shots.

However, Varnado has had trouble sticking with teams in part because he has yet to show that he can bring more to the game than blocking shots and defending.

But considering what the C's need, Varnado's strengths fit in well with what the Celtics need more of out of their current roster.

"I just feel blessed for this opportunity," said Varnado who was drafted by Miami in the second round of the 2010 draft but whose rights were released prior to the start of this season. "It's been a long journey to get here. The only thing I have to do is all I can do, to stick."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.