Celtics concerned about Paul's knee

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Celtics concerned about Paul's knee

Slowly but surely, the talk of Chris Paul coming to Boston is beginning to die a slow death.

But it's not necessarily because of his reported disinterest in signing a long-term deal with the Celtics (Kevin Garnett's camp had similar reservations at first, but eventually got over it), or whether the C's have had a change of heart about being open to the idea of trading point guard Rajon Rondo.

One of the reasons that's giving the C's some reason to pause in their pursuit of Paul is his health; specifically, his surgically repaired left knee.

While he appears to have bounced back from the 2010 injury nicely, there is some concern that the injury could prove problematic in the future.

Paul suffered a torn meniscus injury in late-January of 2010. Dr. James Andrews, one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the world, performed surgery on the knee on Feb. 4. Unable to sew the torn meniscus back together, Dr. Andrews had to take the torn portion out entirely.

The knee has two menisci that essentially serve as shock absorbers between the femur and tibia bones. Paul has one now, which means there's likely some of bone-on-bone rubbing which has the potential to get worse and ultimately lead to additional surgical procedures.

Paul played this past season with a brace on the knee, which helped with its stability -- one of the concerns that exist with having a partially meniscus.

"Talking with the doctors and trainers, (the brace) was the best thing for the long haul and for my body," Paul told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The bone-on-bone issue is a serious one, especially for players who rely so heavily on change-of-direction quickness -- like Paul -- in order to be effective.

Look no further than Portland's Brandon Roy, one of the most talented players in the NBA who underwent surgery on both of his knees in an effort to alleviate the discomfort that came along with bone-on-bone contact. The Trail Blazers have to limit his minutes because of his bad knees, which is why he's one of the players many believe will be available via amnesty.

Of course, there's also the possibility that the remaining meniscus in Paul's knee is adequate enough to limit the amount of bone-on-bone action so that it won't be a problem.

But if you're the Celtics -- or any other team considering a deal for Paul -- are you willing to take that chance?

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.