West expects to return to full practice

West expects to return to full practice

By Jessica Camerato

BOSTON -- Delonte West described himself as hungry.

Hes itching to recover from his recently sprained right ankle, and hopes to return to full contact in practice on Monday.

West suffered the injury last weekend during a team walkthrough. He had played in just three games after recovering from a broken wrist endured in November.

Im able to do everything except for live contact, really just putting full pressure on the leg, he said before Fridays Celtics - Warriors game. But other than that, Im working out, still conditioning. I still havent got any shots up yet, any movement, but hopefully Ill do that this weekend.

After feeling pain on Thursday, he was more comfortable the following day. He went through a treatment regimen of ice, stem therapy, and continuing to use a compression boot he as been wearing throughout the injury.

Doc Rivers does not expect West to play on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

When West returns to the court, the Celtics will look a lot different than they did when he went down. Five players have since been traded, but West is ready to get to work with his new teammates.

I dont think you can break the spirit of the Celtics, he said. It was sad to see a couple of the guys go, but right now its business. I think we have time to heal over that, but right now guys are re-focused for getting this team ready to push out this last stretch.

Rivers said Shaquille ONeal (Achilles) wants to play on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Rivers, though, believes ONeal needs more practice time and says he will probably play on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
One big man Rivers expects to see on the court is Chris Johnson. Even though he has played only six minutes since being called up from the Dakota Wizards (NBA Development League) on February 24, Rivers thinks the Celtics will sign him to another 10-day contract. Rivers says of Johnson, who is 6-11 and 211 pounds, If we can figure out a way to get him on Babys weight program, hed be terrific. Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.