By Jessica Camerato
WALTHAM - There were new faces on the court during Celtics practice on Saturday and one noticeable absentee. Jermaine O'Neal and Avery Bradley returned from injuries to practice with the team, while Shaquille O'Neal sat this one out.
Shaq was bothered by his hips and stayed off the court. "That'll be an issue, on and off at times," said coach Doc Rivers. "We're prepared for that."
As for Jermaine O'Neal, he completed the Celtics' two-hour practice after being sidelined by a sore left hamstring. He admitted he was tired but was happy to be on the court with his new teammates. The Celtics had been looking forward to playing alongside him.
"It was very good having JO back out there," said Kevin Garnett. "If we're going to be anything this year, we're going to need his contributions. He looked really good today. He looked explosive. A good day."
Rivers says Jermaine O'Neal will be a game-time decision for Sunday's match against the Toronto Raptors.
Rivers expects Delonte West to play on Sunday after the guard left Thursday's game against the New Jersey Nets with discomfort in his lower back. "He practiced. He went through the whole practice as well, so everybody was good," said Rivers, adding, "He'll play, unless something happens, but I think he'll play."
Avery Bradley completed his first full practice with the team after undergoing ankle surgery over the summer. The rookie had been anxious to hit the court with the Celtics after watching from a distance.
"I just wanted to gain their respect," he told CSNNE.com. "I hadn't really got out on the court, so today that's what I wanted to do. Go out there and practice hard and show them that I'm with them."
Bradley tried to push his ankle and was pleasantly surprised that he could run up and down with the team and make certain cuts that he wasn't sure he could make. "It went very well," he said.
He doesn't know when he can play in a game and is taking it "day by day."
Bradley and fellow rookie Luke Harangody were the last players to leave the court after practice.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato