Celtics could be in the market for big body


Celtics could be in the market for big body

OKLAHOMA CITY The Boston Celtics will be down to just three big men against Oklahoma City tonight, with Jermaine O'Neal (left wrist) and Chris Wilcox (groin) both headed back to Boston to see doctors for additional tests.

Even if both receive good news that their injuries won't keep them out too long, the Celtics still might need to add another big man to the roster.

If the Celtics were to add a big man other than by trade, they would have to waive at least one player.

The most likely candidates to be waived would be Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic, who have each played their way in and out of the rotation all season.

"It's pointing that way," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of needing to add a big man. "We'll find out more once Chris and JO get back. But the way they've been injured so much, we may need to get one, anyway."

And it may not necessarily come via free agent centers, either. Boston may look to the D-League for help as well.

Whatever they do, it's becoming increasingly clear that the C's don't have the kind of depth up front that they can rely on.

For Wilcox, he has missed three games with a left shoulder injury, and another six due to a sore left calf. O'Neal has missed two games with a sore knee and another two with a sore shoulder.

When you factor in Brandon Bass' left knee injury (he has missed six games and isn't expected back until after the all-star break), Boston's lack of depth upfront becomes a major, major issue.

Look at tonight's game.

Rivers said Garnett, who has missed the last two games dealing with a personal matter, will play more minutes than usual.

"We'll up his minutes by five minutes," Rivers said. "He's usually at 30. Today he'll play 35. But for 13 minutes, he'll be off the floor and somebody else will have to do something."

That means more Greg Stiemsma, who will get the starting nod at center. That also means more JaJuan Johnson, who has shown promise off the Celtics' bench this season.

"Trust me, everybody is going to play," said Rivers, whose roster is down to just 11 available bodies. "We got three bigs, and we're still debating on whether JuJuan is a big yet."

As far as the increased minutes for his younger players, Rivers isn't sold on the idea that it is a good thing for them or for the Celtics.

"You don't want to force anybody into minutes," Rivers said. "I've never believed that's good for a guy."

Patriots reportedly deal Derby to Broncos for fifth-round pick


Patriots reportedly deal Derby to Broncos for fifth-round pick

The Patriots pulled off a rare deal with a rival on Tuesday. 

According to ESPN, they've sent tight end AJ Derby to the Broncos in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Derby played in 33 offensive snaps over four games this season for the Patriots. A sixth-round draft choice in 2015 out of Arkansas, Derby spent most of his rookie season on injured reserve. 

One of the stars of the preseason for the Patriots, Derby caught 15 passes for 189 yards in four exhibition games. A former college quarterback for Iowa and Arkansas, Derby was named a practice player of the week by the Patriots when they were hurting for healthy signal-callers early in the season during Tom Brady's suspension.

The deal leaves the Patriots somewhat thin at the tight end position. They now have now true tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. They do, however, have fullback James Develin, who meets with tight ends on a daily basis. On the practice squad, the Patriots have another fullback in Glenn Gronkowski. 

In Denver, Derby will compete with tight ends Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and John Phillips for time.

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf


Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”