West, Murphy, O'Neals still dealing with injuries


West, Murphy, O'Neals still dealing with injuries

By: Rich Levine

WALTHAM With all the commotion over the Celtics mental, chemistry and apathy issues, some of the teams physical and medical problems have taken a back at seat.

At least for now. But they obviously still do still exist, and in the midst of trying to figure out whats wrong with the players who are on the court, Doc Rivers took a moment before practice to touch on the players who arent.

First and foremost, of course, the ONeals.

Jermaine ONeal is currently working out in Chicago, and is still on target to rejoin the team before the end of the regular season, and while Shaquille ONeal is a little closer to returning, Rivers says you still shouldnt expect Shaq to play on the teams upcoming four-game road trip.

Not on this trip, Rivers said. Ive actually heard that theres a chance, but I dont expect it. I just think thats too optimistic. Just being around the game long enough to know that when you take a boot off, you normally dont play a day later. I just dont think thats realistic. I think theres a better chance of next Sunday, but I think more the game after that is our target date for Shaq.

Troy Murphy, who sprained his right ankle during Thursdays practice and missed Fridays game with his foot in a walking boot, has broken free from the boot, and was in uniform before practice. But like with the ONeals, Rivers says not to hold your breathe on Murphy.

I dont think hes good to go, he said, but hes taken the boot off. I dont even think hes going on the trip.

Lastly, theres Delonte West, who missed practice for personal reasons, and who, despite playing the last six games, is still dealing with the lingering effects of a late-February ankle injury.

"I've had a sprained ankle before; it normally takes two, three days and you're back in action," West said after Fridays loss. "But they're saying I got a chipped bone in there and I think I kind of over-did it a little bit in practice (on Thursday)."

Still, Rivers isnt overly concerned.

Delontes good, he said. It just becomes a pain thing. There will be games when he feels great, there will be a game here or there when he can play, but therell be more pain. Last night he actually twisted it a little.

I think hell be all right, unless he steps on a foot, which he cant avoid. Delonte will be OK. There will be a game or two where hell react to pain, but if Im betting on a guy for toughness, and playing through pain, I got a pretty good feeling it wont be a factor with Delonte. So thats not a concern, but obviously Shaq, JO, that a concern.

Rich Levine can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf


Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”