Okay, so I know it's a stretch placing this as frontpage news, but it's been a slow news week for the Celtics. Shira did an article on Kendrick Perkins today, and she included this nugget:
"I've got to be able to give my best every night," said Perkins, fully recovered from the left foot plantar fasciitis that sidelined him for a spell and prevented him from playing at top form during the second half of last season. "I'm excited about this season and I'm trying to put my all into it. This is a blessed opportunity to be on a team with Paul [Pierce], Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen."
To that end, Perkins has spent a lot of time at the Celtics' practice facility, working on his conditioning, strength, and 15-foot shot and returning for only brief stays to his hometown of Beaumont, Texas.
There are two big things of note in that article. One is that Perk is working on his conditioning and his jump shot. If Perk can better develop those two elements of his game, he'll be a much more effective player. In terms of the conditioning, that will obviously help him get up and down the court more effectively, but most importantly, it will cut down on cheap fouls. Tired players foul more, and foul trouble is something we can't afford from Perk this year, with Scot Pollard being the only experienced backup center on the roster. With the jump shot, if he starts knocking that down semi-consistently, that can only help open things up inside for KG and company. It would be a huge weapon for Perk to have in his arsenal.
The most important part from that quote, though, is that bit buried in the middle: "fully recovered from the left foot plantar fasciitis". Plantar fasciitis can be a nasty, nasty injury, and it certainly took a toll on Perk last year. It's an injury that can stay with a player for multiple seasons; Chris Bosh has struggled with it in recent seasons, and it recently caused him to withdraw from Team USA. The news that Perk is "fully recovered", then, is tremendous news.
Perk also had some quotes about departed friend Al Jefferson, which are worth noting:
I'd be lying if I said [watching Jefferson leave] was easy," said Perkins. "I think about it every day. I know we made a decision for right now. We got a great deal on our end with KG, but on the other side, Minnesota got a great deal for the future. For real. We got the best, but we gave up a lot. The sky's the limit for those guys [who went to Minnesota].
"Honestly, they're way better than what I'll ever be. I've still got a long ways to go and I'm still young in this league, too. But I just think Gerald [Green] and Al, especially, their potential is on another level from everybody else. ...
According to Perkins, Jefferson struggled in the days after the deal.
"He didn't take it too good," said Perkins. "I think he's doing a little bit better with it now. After he talked with the personnel, owners, and stuff in Minnesota, he was more comfortable."
"I saw in [Danny Ainge's] eyes when he made the trade that it hurt him to give up Al. I was right here when we all put in a lot of time to see [Jefferson] develop. He's still my boy no matter what, but we're on separate teams."
As hard as it was for us as fans to see a guy like Big Al go, it has to be one hundred times tougher for somebody who played with these guys day in and day out. It's good to hear that Big Al is starting to adjust to life in Minnesota. I wish him the best, but as Perk reminds us, he's on a different team now. As hard as it was to see him go, if he was the price to pay for KG, it was a move that Danny had to make.
More on Perk can be found in the Herald.