Celtics notes: Jermaine O'Neal hides fractured wrist


Celtics notes: Jermaine O'Neal hides fractured wrist

By A. Sherrod Blakely

WALTHAM Throughout the playoffs, Jermaine O'Neal barely said a word.

We all knew he was battling injuries.

Who isn't in the playoffs?

But little did we know how serious his situation was for most of the Boston Celtics' playoff run.

O'Neal suffered a fracture in his left (shooting-hand) wrist in the Game 1 of Boston's first-round series with New York.

The injury occurred when O'Neal came down hard while taking a charge.

After the game, O'Neal had little to say about the injury.

And as the playoffs wore on, the loquacious O'Neal never mentioned the severity of the injury other than to acknowledge he was dealing with some soreness.

"He's sort of the quiet one through all this," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "Jermaine needs some pretty serious surgery on his left wrist."

Because he's left-handed, most of what he does as far as shooting, rebounding, blocking shots - he does it with his right hand.

In nine playoff games - all starts - he averaged 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 48.8 percent from the field which were better than his regular season averages in those respective categories.

The fractured wrist came on the heels of an injury-riddled regular season for O'Neal that included left knee surgery that sidelined him for several weeks.

It is unclear when he'll have surgery on his wrist or when it will heal in time for him to begin conditioning for next season which is in limbo for a couples.

O'Neal, who just completed his 15th NBA season, is thinking about retiring in order to spend more time with his family. If the NBA has a lockout as expected, O'Neal said he would more than likely return for the final year of his contract with the Celtics that pays 6.2 million next season.

"A shorter season would definitely be something I wouldn't mind having," O'Neal said. "But at some point, and soon, I'm going to walk away from the game. It would have been nice to have done it this year with a championship. But it just wasn't meant to be this year, I guess."

Ainge isn't sure exactly what the Celtics will be able to do in terms of the roster until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached between the players' union and the owners.

But he does know one thing the Celtics will be searching for this summer - players who can score the basketball.

"Scoring droughts have been a problem we've had the last couple years," Ainge said. "Our defense has been consistently good. But for whatever reasons, we've had too many scoring droughts at crucial times of the game and that hurt us."

While it's too soon for the Celtics to lock in on any particular player, you can expect the C's will at least inquire about upcoming free agents such as Atlanta's Jamal Crawford and Denver's J.R. Smith who are both considered among the top perimeter scorers in this class of free agents.

The Celtics are bracing themselves for a coaching vacancy - and no, it's not Doc Rivers.

It's lead assistant Lawrence Frank who is in the running for a number of head coaching jobs in the NBA, such as Houston and Golden State.

"He should be hired as a head coach," Ainge said. "My guess is he'll be hired as a head coach somewhere."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut


Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.