Happy Halloween, everyone. Here are some Celtics-related things to think about today.
According to multiple outlets via Twitter, Shaquille O'Neal did not participate in practice today. He reportedly bruised part of his right leg during a collision with Amare Stoudemire when the Celtic defeated the New York Knicks on Friday night. According to Jessica Camerato's Twitter, Shaq did laps in the pool with Kendrick Perkins during the team's practice session.
Avery Bradley apparently suffered a mild left ankle sprain, but fortunately, this latest setback appears to be unrelated to the offseason ankle surgery he underwent. Nonetheless, that ankle continues to plague him and halt his NBA debut. There haven't been any updates on the Celtics' "new" approach to treating Bradley's ankle that Doc Rivers alluded to towards the end of the preseason. It wouldn't surprise me if a minor flare up like this one encouraged reporters to inquire about that. In the meantime, all we can really continue to say is we hope the ankle feels better soon.
The Other O'Neal
Jermaine O'Neal sat out Friday night's victory over the New York Knicks with what was described as a sore knee. I suppose we can add that sore knee to the list of ailments that have so far derailed O'Neal's inaugural stint as a member of the Boston Celtics.
He was back at practice today, but still served as a member of the second unit, even with Shaq out. Semih Erden filled in at center with the first unit. You might assume Jermaine would simply step into the starting five with Shaq out, but, perhaps for continuity purposes (Jermaine was with the second unit for the vast majority of the preseason and the first few games of the regular season), Doc decided to keep him with the second five.
I'm still of the belief that we can't rightfully criticize Jermaine until he finds consistent time on the court. His production has been, well, awful, so far: 1.5 points (20 percent shooting) and 2.0 rebounds in a mere 12.5 minutes of action. His PER on Basketball-Reference sits at a ghastly -9.8, second only to Von Wafer's -13.6 figure. It's easy to look at the numbers and think, "We spent the full mid-level exception on this?" It's also easy to look at those numbers and be reminded of the player we saw during the first round of the playoffs last season. However, we need to factor in the injuries, which are things Jermaine can't really help. He didn't have much of a training camp or preseason, and I wonder if he's even in legitimate game shape (let alone in any type of rhythm), given all of the time he's missed. It's unfortunate that he's been plagued thus far, but he'll hopefully work his way back into the lineup and make strides in the right direction. His biggest contributions should come on the defensive end this season, and the second unit will hopefully have enough offensive firepower once Delonte West returns and is reunited with Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, and Glen Davis.
Celtics Moving Past West and Wafer Incident
Delonte West spoke to reporters about the locker room scuffle incident he and Von Wafer were involved in. He said many of the initial "facts" that were reported were not true, and suggested that the team has moved past it. Here's a quote from him from A. Sherrod Blakely's Twitter:
"Of course guys get into scuffles or whatever you want to call it. But at the end of the day, we're like brothers in here."
Also, in this report from Chris Forsberg (with video of Delonte speaking with reporters about the incident), Delonte claims that he and Wafer "laughed about" the incident today (with the help of Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal).
I'm well aware that we're only three games into the season, but it's still pretty cool that Rajon Rondo's leading the league in assists right now with 16.7 per game. Also, Kevin Garnett's sitting in ninth place in rebounds per game, as he's hauled in 11.7 per game thus far. One of the most notable things about the season so far has been KG's performance on the glass. He's reached double digits in rebounding in all three games so far. He pulled down 10 against Miami and New York, and ripped off 15 against the Cavaliers.
Enjoy Halloween, everyone. For those taking their children out trick-or-treating later, or are going trick-or-treating themselves: Have fun and be safe.