FOXBORO -- The Patriots locker room was nearly desolate on Friday. Players arrived and then departed quickly at the start of the media availability period. The ones who lingered weren't talking.
Their resounding silence was a way to steer clear of the news that offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had agreed to become the next coach at Penn State.
Julian Edelman was the only player who would speak on the subject.
"If it's true," Edelman said of O'Brien's new gig, "we'll miss him."
Edelman wouldn't indicate if O'Brien was in Foxboro on Friday, but he described O'Brien as a "charistmatic" and "emotional" coach, saying that the Patriots will benefit from having him around during their playoff run.
"He gets fired up when you get fired up. Billy, he's just a good guy . . . You love playing for him. You want to do well for him."
Edelman said he wasn't disappointed that O'Brien had chosen to take the job when he did, with the Patriots preparing to make a run at the Super Bowl.
"You're always happy to see a guy succeed and get opportunities," Edelman said. "When guys go different directions, it gives opportunities for other people. We'll see."
Even though it was more quiet than usual in Foxboro the day after the O'Brien news broke, Edelman insisted nothing has changed in terms of the team's preparation. O'Brien's impending departure was not a distraction.
"We're still getting ready for the playoffs. We didn't change anything," Edelman said. "We're going to get back to work here soon, enjoy a couple days off and rest."
Neither set-up man the Red Sox traded for under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith, is throwing off a mound presently.
Smith, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, felt soreness after throwing a bullpen session and is back to doing long toss.
"He’s had to slow down," Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday. "Once he got on the mound with some aggression and good intensity, was throwing the ball well. And as a result there’s been some soreness that has kind of reared its head. So have had to back him off, back into long toss, he’s thrown out to about 110 feet here today. We’re hopeful that in the very near future that mound progression resumes.
"The unique thing about Tommy John recovery is that every situation is going to be different. In this case, we’ve had to take a step back a little bit and get back to flat ground."
Smith is in Boston as part of a previously scheduled meet-up with the team, Farrell said. When the season began, Smith was rehabbing in Florida. He was put on the 60-day disabled list on Thursday, a formality that opened up a 40-man roster spot for new acquisition Chase d'Arnaud.
Smith was put on the disabled list on April 3, so he can return June 2 at the earliest, but may now need more time.
Thornburg (right shoulder impingement) is building up his long-toss distance.
In other injury news, Brock Holt (vertigo) may begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday or Saturday, Farrell said.
BOSTON – There are many factors you can point to in the regular season as indicators of what may happen when two NBA teams meet in the playoffs.
You don't have to be inside the Chicago Bulls' locker room to know that when it comes to the Celtics, they were fully prepared to face a team that took a lot of 3's but wasn’t necessarily shooting them at a high percentage.
That reality has certainly come into focus in Boston’s first-round series against the Chicago, one the C’s lead 3-2 as they continue to try and 3-point shoot their way on to the next round – without giving a damn how many long-range shots it takes to get the job done.
In five playoff games, Boston is shooting 45.3 percent from the field, which puts them in the middle of the pack (eighth overall) among the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason.
But when it comes to the long ball, they are on the back-nine of playoff teams, ranking 10th while shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point range while leading all postseason clubs with 38.7 3-point attempts per game.
In the regular season, the Celtics ranked 16th in field-goal percentage (.454) and 14th in 3-point shooting (35.9 percent) while attempting 33.4 3's per game, which trailed only Houston (40.3) and Cleveland (33.9) this season.
Boston's shooting from the field mirrors what it did in the regular season, but they know all too well that their shooting percentage in this series should be much higher due to the high number of open shots they have missed.
Take a look at Game 5.
In the 108-97 win, the Celtics shot an impressive 53.1 percent when their shots were contested.
But let the Bulls have a defensive breakdown like a failed switch, or a guy gets beat for what turns into a great opportunity for Boston to score with no resistance, and instead of burying the open shot, the Celtics have consistently blown those opportunities. That’s evident by the C’s connecting on just 30.8 percent (12-for-39) of their uncontested field-goal attempts in Game 5.
Even the usually reliable Isaiah Thomas had issues making uncontested shots in Game 5 and this series as a whole.
He had 24 points and shared game-high scoring honors with Avery Bradley on Wednesday night, but Thomas probably should have led everyone outright in scoring when you consider he had five open shots and wound up missing four of them.
That’s why when it comes to Boston’s offense, the last thing Thomas or any of his teammates complains about is getting the shots they want.
“I’ve been getting good open looks,” he said. “My teammates have been getting me open. We just got to knock down the shots. Coach [Stevens] keeps saying one day soon we’re going to knock down the open shots that we are missing and it might be [Game 6].”