No knee surgery for Jermaine O'Neal

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No knee surgery for Jermaine O'Neal

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The decision has been made.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, confirmed an earlier report from Comcast SportsNet's Greg Dickerson that Jermaine O'Neal will not have surgery on his left knee.

Instead, the C's will shut O'Neal down for the next four weeks, and then look to bring him back in the fold.

Ainge, O'Neal and the C's medical staff discussed all the different options at halftime of Boston's 86-82 win over Detroit.

"The surgery he was considering, was just a cleaning out," Ainge said. "There's no ligament or cartilage damage that was going to be repaired. It was a cleaning-out process. We decided against that."

Had they opted for the surgery, Ainge said O'Neal would have been looking at being out for about two months.

Even after four weeks of rest, that doesn't necessarily mean O'Neal immediately returns to the Celtics playing rotation.

Kendrick Perkins will be back in the rotation by then.

If Shaquille O'Neal stays healthy, there is a chance that Jermaine O'Neal can return to a Celtics squad that, in many ways, has moved on without him.

Still, the Celtics have proven all season that there really is no such thing as having too many big men.

The Celtics still don't know how much they'll get out of Perkins when he returns. Shaquille O'Neal, who had his first double-double with the Celtics on Wednesday with 12 points and 12 rebounds, has had his share of bumps and bruises, which is what you expect from the oldest player in the NBA. Even the C's young bigs, like rookie Semih Erden, has been hit with the injury bug.

"We're going to need all these guys to get through the year and the playoffs," Ainge said.

When Jermaine O'Neal does return, Ainge added that he will not have a minutes restriction.

His conditioning, maybe more than anything else, will dictate how much he can play.

"When you're out with a bad knee, it's tough to condition basketball-wise," Ainge said. "He was on the treadmill, the non-bearing weight treadmills and in the swimming pool and a lot of things like that. Jermaine has a plan to get himself in great shape and build the strength up so he can withstand the rigors of playing the last couple months of basketball."

O'Neal went to New York to get a second opinion.

But before that, it appeared as though he was leaning toward not having the surgery and instead, going with the plan that he and the Celtics agreed to on Wednesday.

"It's almost a shock to the system," O'Neal said. "There is a chance that you may not come back. There's a chance that it might not go as well as you want it to go. A lot of different things can happen when you go through surgery. At the end of the day, you have to live with the decision you make. To me, it's all about playing. I just want to play; I just want to help."

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

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics make big plays down the stretch

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics make big plays down the stretch

BOSTON – When the fourth quarter rolled around on Friday night, the Boston Celtics found themselves in a down-to-the-wire fight with the Sacramento Kings. 

It was the kind of game that in the past has brought out the scrappy, get-it-done-somehow brand of basketball that has in many ways come to define the Celtics under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens. 

And it was on full display Friday night as the Celtics made all the big plays at both ends of the floor down the stretch to beat the Sacramento Kings, 97-92. 

After Sacramento cut Boston’s lead to 90-87, Al Horford drained a 3-pointer to make it a two-possession game again. 

Isaiah Thomas came up with a pair of free throws that turned out to be huge, because shortly after he made them the Kings got a 3-pointer from DeMarcus Cousins that made it a 95-92 game.

The Kings had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth when Horford was credited with his sixth block of the game, this time on DeMarcus Cousins.

Horford was immediately fouled and went to the free throw line where he sealed the victory by making a pair.

Those were the kind of plays we saw often last season being made by the Celtics who finished in a tie for the third-best record in the East. 

This year, not so much. 

“For the most part we got what we wanted (in the fourth quarter) and we got the stops we needed even,” Thomas said. 

Which is the kind of game Jae Crowder and the rest of the guys who have been here awhile, have grown accustomed to.

“We got back to being the aggressive team,” Crowder said. “We came out and imposed our will early; that helped. But if the game comes down to what it was tonight, we have to be the team that comes out on top. It was like a playoff game, real physical. We have to grit it out, grind it out.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

So this is what an ultra-aggressive Al Horford looks like? The four-time All-Star had a season-high 26 points which included knocking down four three-pointers to go with eight rebounds and six blocked shots – yes, six blocked shots.

DeMarcus Cousins

While his fiery temper hasn’t died down completely, his incredible offensive skills and brute strength is what folks are talking more about, finally. He led the Kings with a game-high 28 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and four blocked shots.  

 

STUDS

Isaiah Thomas

His streak of being Boston’s outright scoring leader ended at 14 games, but he’s more than happy to take a back seat for one night if it means getting a victory. Horford led the charge on Friday night, but Thomas still chipped in with 20 points, seven assists and two steals. 

Matt Barnes

Although he missed eight of his 11 shots from the field, the 36-year-old Barnes was rewarded for his hustle and effort as he finished with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

Jae Crowder

Boston needed tough plays to be made on Friday and Crowder was up the challenge all night. He finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Good things happened when he was on the floor, evident by his game-high plus/minus of +15.

 

DUDS

Rudy Gay

He finished with 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting but the Kings needed more from their second-leading scorer who finished almost seven points below his 19.6 points per game average. That stands out on a night when the Kings lost by just five points.