Doc 'concerned' after Green misses practice again

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Doc 'concerned' after Green misses practice again

WALTHAM Paul Pierce (right heel) and Rajon Rondo (right ankle) were once again kept out of practice, and will likely be sidelined for the next couple of days.

But the biggest concern for the Boston Celtics right now is Jeff Green, whose status remains very much in the air.

The team is awaiting the results from a second round of tests after some irregular findings were discovered in his physical.

Because of those findings, Green has been unable to participate in full contact drills with the C's.

When asked about how concerned he is right now with Green's status, coach Doc Rivers replied, "It is a concern, a big concern. Whenever anything is red-flagged and they have to re-do stuff, you get concerned. We just have to wait and see."

Rivers hopes to have the results within the next 24 hours.

But even when they arrive, that doesn't necessarily mean Green, who signed a one-year deal worth 9 million with the Celtics, will immediately return to the practice floor.

"And then doctors (will review the results)," Rivers said. "That's usually what happens."

Green, who was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, said on Monday that he thought the results from his stress test were off because of fatigue.

"It was a late day Thursday, trying to get everything squared away," Green said. "And then coming here, I didn't sleep and flight got delayed four hours and then had to do the physical, the stress test. I think it was just fatigue."

Green added, "In my mind, it was fatigue because I didn't sleep at all, so it was kind of tough to judge."

What is easy to judge is the impact that this has had on Green, who came into this season looking to be a much-improved, more aggressive player than the one we saw last season after he was traded to Boston, from Oklahoma City.

In Oklahoma City, Green averaged 15.2 points in 49 games (all starts), playing 37 minutes a night. With the Celtics, he appeared in 26 games (two starts) and averaged a 9.8 points while playing 23.5 minutes per game.

"Coming in here in a tough situation last year," Green said. "I wasn't comfortable in my spot. It was tough to transition from coming from Oklahoma and doing what I was doing there, to coming here and trying to find my spot somewhere and score the ball. Now after having conversations with Doc and knowing my role a little bit more better, a lot more comfortable. I'm ready to get started."

So you can imagine with that mindset, the news that he remains unable to participate has not been well received by the 6-foot-8 forward.

"Not great" was how Rivers described Green handling the news that he couldn't practice with the team.

"One of the reasons he came in the day before . . . one thing he wanted to do was start early and not fall behind," said Rivers, who added that he thought the team would know the results of Green's latest tests within the next 24 hours. "He felt that really hurt him when he was traded. So obviously, you can imagine he's a little frustrated."

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

BOSTON — Tyler Thornburg’s gone for the season and there’s really no telling when the other set-up man the Sox expected to help in 2017, Carson Smith, will be back.

The Sox have already made inroads, if minor ones, in bolstering their third-base situation and rotation. Smith’s situation leaves a question of whether the Sox will need to pursue help in the bullpen as well.

There's not an easy answer to settle on at this point.

For one, the timetable with the right-hander Smith — whose shoulder has bothered him on the way back from Tommy John surgery — isn’t clear.

“He's in a no-throw [time] through the weekend,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. “He'll be reevaluated on Monday to hopefully initiate a throwing program. He's responding favorably to the treatment. He continues to rehab as he's been. We have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year.”

What does this year mean, though? Will they be able to know by July, by the trade deadline?

“Still too early to tell,” Farrell said. “We thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP session in New York [on June 6]. Unfortunately, that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I don't know that any of us can predict that right now.”

The Sox relievers have done extraordinarily well without either Thornburg or Smith. Can that continue without reinforcements? The bullpen’s ERA entering Friday was 2.94, the second best mark in the majors. Its innings total, 217, was the second. lowest in the majors. 

So it’s not like the entire group is about to collapse from fatigue. But a guy like Joe Kelly, for example, isn’t someone the Sox want to use back to back.

It’s a young group and ultimately an inexperienced group. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already fallen into the trap of trading for premium set-up men twice, and that’s a dangerous road to pursue again. Perhaps a smaller trade makes more sense.

“Well, at this point, we’re open minded to help,” Dombrowski said when asked if he was targeting either third-base or relief help. “I’m not going to get into specifics at this time on what else we’re looking for. Keep an open mind on a lot of ways on which we can improve. We have guys coming back and both the spots, I think Carson Smith is very important to us and our bullpen has pitched great. The other day, we struggled but that was one of the few times we really struggled all year. 

“I think Carson still has a chance to come back and help us this year.”

 

Pedroia returns

Dustin Pedroia (ribcage) was out of the initial Red Sox lineup on Friday but was later added. Farrell said in the afternoon that Pedroia would be available by emergency Fridayand expected to be back in the lineup Saturday, but clearly, something changed.

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

Blake Griffin opts out of Clippers contract, becoming free agent

According to multiple reports, Blake Griffin has opted out of his contract with the Clippers, making him a free agent. 

Griffin is considered one of the top free agents in a class that will also include Utah’s Gordon Hayward. The Celtics have been reported as possible suitors for both players. 

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, the 28-year-old Griffin is a five-time All-Star, though injuries have limited him over the last three seasons. 

Over 61 games, the 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. Between numerous injuries and a suspension for hitting a member of the Clippers’ equipment staff, Griffin was limited to just 31 games in the 2015-16 season. 

Adrian Wojnarowski said recently that Boston’s reception for Clippers teammate Paul Pierce made a very strong impression on Griffin. Though there might not necessarily be a connection between the two, Griffin said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” that Boston is on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities.