By Jessica Camerato
BOSTON - Doc Rivers wasnt planning on having Kendrick Perkins in the rotation for Tuesdays game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it was an adjustment he was happy to make.
After learning of injury after injury this season on the Celtics, Rivers was glad to receive some good news - Kendrick Perkins was cleared to play ahead of schedule.
After the practice (on Monday), the doctors walked in and said they thought he should play, he said. I dont mind changing my mind.
Perkins will return more than a week ahead of his projected date of February 4. He will be limited between 12 to 16 minutes as he plays for the first time since injuring his right knee during Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
He looks pretty good, said Rivers. That was part of the reason they thought he should give it a go and ease him in with minutes. Hes on a minute restriction and well see how it goes.
Even though the Celtics starting five will not be on the court together at tip-off, Rivers looks forward to having all of them available to play.
Its just another piece were adding, is the way I look at it. he said. Thats great for us. So the healthier we can get, the better we can get, the more consistent we can become, and we can start growing. Its tough to grow as a team when half your team, or at least your bench, is not playing.
Perkins activation is not related to the injuries of Jermaine and Shaquille ONeal. Rather it is a matter of getting Perkins playing time so he can gain rhythm and be best prepared for the postseason.
Rivers will watch Perkins carefully to make sure he doesnt overextend himself in his return. There is one small issue, though, that he cant control.
Im just hoping he doesnt foul out in those little 16 minutes tonight, Rivers laughed. Which is very likely.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba