Injury update: Centers down, Robinson probable

Injury update: Centers down, Robinson probable

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM It's a good thing Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, stockpiled all those centers this summer.

Because as the injuries continue to pile up for Boston's big men, their return isn't coming about as expected.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers was optimistic that both Semih Erden and Shaquille O'Neal would have been back in time for Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Not only will they miss tomorrow's game against the Miami Heat, but Rivers expects them to be out even when the team regroups after the all-star break.

They join fellow center Jermaine O'Neal, who recently had surgery on his left knee that will sideline him until late-March or early April.

"Semih's out until after the break, and Shaq will be too," Rivers said. "We don't know if they'll be back (right) after the break, right now."

Erden is suffering from a groin injury that has been among the ailments he has played through most of this season.

O'Neal has had a number of issues with his right leg, the latest involves a right Achilles injury that has kept him out of Boston's last seven games.

"Semih, his groin is not improving," Rivers said. "And Shaq's Achilles is not improving at all. Obviously, we thought we'd have them both back by the last game. But that's fine. We're good."

Their absence means the Celtics are rely even more on starters Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, while also looking to get more production from Glen Davis and rookie Luke Harangody who are the team's only two other big men.

Boston's Nate Robinson, who left in the second quarter of Thursday's game against the Lakers with a bruised right knee injury, will try and play tomorrow.

He told CSNNE.com following the Lakers game that he planned to have an MRI taken on Friday. However, Ainge told CSNNE.com Friday evening that Robinson was not going to have an MRI performed.

"I'm just getting treatment now," said Robinson, who added that he would play with a knee brace tomorrow.

Robinson usually wears shin guards when he plays, "so I got to do a little (Rajon) Rondo look for now. But the knee thing, it feels weird."

He was talking about the brace, but he could have easily have been talking about his knee which was still giving him problems less than 24 hours before tip-off against the Miami Heat.

The injury occurred when Robinson's knee collided with Lakers guard Shannon Brown's knee following a Robinson shot attempt.

There was no swelling, but Robinson said, "the pain in there is kind of funky right now. So we're just icing it."

Robinson said he has no trouble walking, but it's running and jumping that remain issues.

He said he won't plan to try and do that until tomorrow.

"I'm just going to go in here and get treatment," said Robinson, who spent most of Friday at the practice facility receiving treatments.

Even if Robinson plays, he won't be at full strength - which essentially has been the story of this season for the Celtics.

"We just have to find a way to win, regardless of who goes down," Robinson said. "That's why it's called a team. It's not just one guy. Guys play through injuries. Just keep fighting through it; we'll be alright."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”