Collins keeping himself ready to go for Celtics

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Collins keeping himself ready to go for Celtics

BOSTON With Chris Wilcox (back) out indefinitely and Darko Milicic nursing a right wrist injury for at least another game, it's time for the Boston Celtics to put their big man insurance policy to use.

And the name of that policy is Jason Collins.

The veteran big man saw his most extensive action of the preseason in Boston's 97-96 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

He played 15 minutes and tallied a preseason-high five points.

When Collins signed on with the C's, he knew his chances to play would be few and far between.

But that has no impact on his approach to every game.

"I'm a professional," he said. "I know, always stay ready. Even going into the last three minutes of a game, it doesn't matter. My job as a professional is always be ready. And when your name is called, be ready."

Having been in the NBA in what will be his 12th NBA season, the C's are familiar with what Collins can and cannot do.

"When he comes out there he's going to rebound, he's going to set picks," said Celtics assistant Armond Hill. "He's a guy you don't have to call anything for, but he's going to do all the little things. He's going to do all the dirty work, really. So he's valuable."

Boston's Paul Pierce said his former teammate and current Comcast SportsNet analyst Brian Scalabrine used to talk about Collins in glowing terms when Scalabrine and Collins were teammates in New Jersey.

"Scal always bragged about him," Pierce said. "He thought Collins was the best post defender in the NBA. He's a solid veteran. He's not going to be asked to play big minutes for us, but he's a true professional. He's in the gym, staying ready. He's in the gym; he's keeping his body in shape. He's going to be called upon at some point in the season, some big minutes for us. We know he can be a solid contributor for us."

It was certainly that way in Atlanta last season. After spending the bulk of the season sidelined, injures force the Hawks to put him in the starting lineup in the playoffs against Boston.

"It's just one of those things where you never know what's going to happen," Collins said. "The team, through the course of regular season, playoffs . . . your name might be called. When it is, you have to go out there and make plays.

Collins' ability to help out when called upon is in part because of his basketball wisdom, the kind that comes after having spent more than a decade in the NBA.

And it's clear to Collins that having a relatively high basketball IQ seems to be the norm -- and not the exception -- in Boston.

"This is the highest basketball IQ team that I've ever been a part of," Collins said. "Usually, there's maybe one or two. But we have a lot of guys on this team who have high basketball IQs."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.