Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles

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Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles

BOSTON There was plenty of disappointment in the Boston Celtics locker room following Friday's loss to the Indiana Pacers.

But few seemed to take the latest setback for the Green Team harder than Chris Wilcox.

That's because this game was like most this season, one in which the 6-foot-10 big man made little, if any, impact.

Wilcox, who played less than three minutes, provided just 1 point and zero boards and failed to provide the kind of high-energy, high impact plays the C's were hoping for when they signed him to a one-year deal for the full, miniature mid-level exception (3 million).

In five games, he is averaging career-lows in just about every category, including scoring (1.4) and minutes played (9) per game.

He'll be the first to tell you that he has to play better.

"Whatever it takes for me to get going, that's what I'm going to do," Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "I think I'm hurting the team right now."

Wilcox added, "I just got to get my mentals right; I gotta get right. I gotta get my confidence back."

You can blame it on his left shoulder injury, or being with a new team that has a goal in mind -- an NBA title -- that no team he has ever played for in the past ever seriously considered.

None of that matters.

He knows that the Celtics will need strong play from many, himself included, in order to continue its run among the top teams in the East.

But they'll need him to provide more than three minutes.

The lack of playing time was due to, more than anything else, his inability to give the second unit a lift. But head coach Doc Rivers is quick to come to the defense of Wilcox and the rest of the team's backup players, a unit that hasn't quite made the impact many were expecting.

"We do have to get more out of our bench," Rivers acknowledged. "That's on me. I have to find something that works for them, that we can give them. They're an energy group. They're not a scoring group."

Wilcox certainly falls into that category.

He has never averaged more than 14.1 points per game in a season, with most of his points usually coming on hustle plays or relatively close to the basket on dunks, easy put-backs or lay-ups.

When asked specifically about Wilcox, Rivers made it clear that the veteran big man's play was not something he was too worried about now.

"The guy, he missed a couple games," Rivers said. "He's working his way back. We're eight games into the year. So I'm not too concerned with that."

Despite his left shoulder still giving him problems, Wilcox refuses to use that as an excuse for his struggles.

"It's still sore, it still bothers me but at the end of the day I gotta go out there and play hard, man," Wilcox said. "I haven't been playing like myself. I know what I gotta do; I gotta get in the gym, get my work in and get better. It's that simple."

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.