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Minor Injuries Plaguing Celtics in Preseason

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The bad news for the Boston Celtics: It's felt like at least half the roster has missed time this preseason with some type of minor injury. The good news for the Boston Celtics: Rest is on its way. The C's topped the New York Knicks last night, 97-84, and won't play again until Wednesday night - the preseason finale against the New Jersey Nets at 7:30pm. After that game, the Celtics will have five full days off before they open the regular season on October 26 against the Miami Heat

I call these various injuries minor, because, for the most part, they haven't necessarily caused players to miss any extended periods of time. Let's take a look at who didn't play in last night's game due to injury.

Marquis Daniels - Daniels's right shoulder is being described as "sore", as he apparently hurt it to some degree in Boston's win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Jermaine O'Neal - O'Neal apparently fell on his left hand in the win over Toronto and suffered a bruise. Like Daniels, he was kept out of last night's game for precautionary reasons (it's only preseason, after all), but Doc Rivers said he could have played if the Celtics had needed him. 

Delonte West - West's back spasms continue to plague him, as he remained in Boston for treatment after it was originally thought heading into Friday night's game that he would rejoin the team in Hartford yesterday. While the Celtics will miss his presence during his 10-game suspension to start the season, the extended break could provide a vital opportunity for him to get his health squared away so he can be at 100 percent when he's eligible to play again on November 17 against the Washington Wizards. I wouldn't be surprised if Rivers held him out of Wednesday's preseason finale, again for precautionary reasons. West can take the extra time to make sure his back is fully right again.

Avery Bradley - While the rookie's left ankle hasn't necessary gotten worse, it hasn't healed as well as Rivers and the medical staff were hoping it would. Rivers admitted in his postgame press conference last night that head trainer Ed Lacerte and his staff will most likely try a new approach with Bradley moving forward. It's unfortunate, because preseason would have been a great time for Bradley to get some minutes, but fortunately the bench is strong enough so that the Celtics won't be in dire need of him - at least for now, anyway. 

Nate Robinson - While Robinson did play in last night's game and scored 13 points, he shot a mere 4-14 from the field. During CSNNE's broadcast last night, Greg Dickerson reported Robinson's also battling a sore right shoulder. He said Robinson's been seen with a heavy wrap around the shoulder, similar to what you see on a major league pitcher after he throws 100+ pitches. 

While West and Bradley's injuries appear to be the most serious (aside from Kendrick Perkins's knee), if we were in the midst of the playoffs, I'm confident O'Neal, Daniels, and Robinson all would have been able to play. "Sore" is much better than "strained", "sprained", "pulled", "torn", or "broken". 

Here are the other injuries the Celtics have dealt with so far this preseason:

Glen Davis - Besides a crazy number of bloody noses (it seemed like Davis was bleeding at least once every game), Davis's only other concern was the sore left knee he battled on Wednesday when the Celtics defeated the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Much like Daniels and Jermaine O'Neal, if Wednesday's game had been a playoff game, Davis most likely would have been able to play. He was back in the lineup in Friday's win over Toronto and scored 15 points last night in nearly 26 minutes of action. 

Paul Pierce - Pierce sat out  Friday's win with a "stomach bug". He's fine. He played well last night (16 points on 6-11 shooting). 

Shaquille O'Neal - You better believe Shaq's hips don't lie, especially when they're "sore" (I see a theme developing here...). The big fella missed three straight games this past week with the minor hip issue, but rest isn't necessarily a bad thing for the oldest man in the NBA, particularly in the preseason when his services aren't always needed. He looked crisp in last night's win, and the Celtics' front court depth will allow them to rest him periodically if need be. 

Jermaine O'Neal - His initial hamstring injury is worth noting, as it kept him out of the team's first two preseason games. However, he seems to be past that problem now, and I can't imagine his sore hand will take long to heal. 

Again, if we are forced to hear about these injuries, "sore" isn't a bad word to have associated with the majority of them.  The biggest concern might not necessarily be the injuries themselves (again, because most have been minor), but the fact that during most of the games Doc Rivers didn't have all of the players on hand that he wanted to utilize and experiment with. Fortunately, the Celtics should have plenty of days of practice before the regular season opener to sort out any of those remaining questions.