Celtics

Injury update: Centers down, Robinson probable

Injury update: Centers down, Robinson probable

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM It's a good thing Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, stockpiled all those centers this summer.

Because as the injuries continue to pile up for Boston's big men, their return isn't coming about as expected.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers was optimistic that both Semih Erden and Shaquille O'Neal would have been back in time for Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Not only will they miss tomorrow's game against the Miami Heat, but Rivers expects them to be out even when the team regroups after the all-star break.

They join fellow center Jermaine O'Neal, who recently had surgery on his left knee that will sideline him until late-March or early April.

"Semih's out until after the break, and Shaq will be too," Rivers said. "We don't know if they'll be back (right) after the break, right now."

Erden is suffering from a groin injury that has been among the ailments he has played through most of this season.

O'Neal has had a number of issues with his right leg, the latest involves a right Achilles injury that has kept him out of Boston's last seven games.

"Semih, his groin is not improving," Rivers said. "And Shaq's Achilles is not improving at all. Obviously, we thought we'd have them both back by the last game. But that's fine. We're good."

Their absence means the Celtics are rely even more on starters Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, while also looking to get more production from Glen Davis and rookie Luke Harangody who are the team's only two other big men.

Boston's Nate Robinson, who left in the second quarter of Thursday's game against the Lakers with a bruised right knee injury, will try and play tomorrow.

He told CSNNE.com following the Lakers game that he planned to have an MRI taken on Friday. However, Ainge told CSNNE.com Friday evening that Robinson was not going to have an MRI performed.

"I'm just getting treatment now," said Robinson, who added that he would play with a knee brace tomorrow.

Robinson usually wears shin guards when he plays, "so I got to do a little (Rajon) Rondo look for now. But the knee thing, it feels weird."

He was talking about the brace, but he could have easily have been talking about his knee which was still giving him problems less than 24 hours before tip-off against the Miami Heat.

The injury occurred when Robinson's knee collided with Lakers guard Shannon Brown's knee following a Robinson shot attempt.

There was no swelling, but Robinson said, "the pain in there is kind of funky right now. So we're just icing it."

Robinson said he has no trouble walking, but it's running and jumping that remain issues.

He said he won't plan to try and do that until tomorrow.

"I'm just going to go in here and get treatment," said Robinson, who spent most of Friday at the practice facility receiving treatments.

Even if Robinson plays, he won't be at full strength - which essentially has been the story of this season for the Celtics.

"We just have to find a way to win, regardless of who goes down," Robinson said. "That's why it's called a team. It's not just one guy. Guys play through injuries. Just keep fighting through it; we'll be alright."

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

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

BOSTON – When Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job in 2013, he knew what he was getting into.
 
Yes, the Celtics at that time were rebuilding which usually means years and years of slow but steady progress – if you’re lucky.
 
And then after maybe a few years of struggling to win games, a breakout season occurs and just like that – you’re back in the playoffs.

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 But here’s the thing with the Celtics.
 
While most rebuilding teams spend years working their way towards being competitive, Stevens hit the ground running and in just four years, he led the Celtics from being a 25-win team to one that was just three wins away from getting to the NBA Finals.
 
He has the kind of basketball resume that’s impressive on many levels.
 
But Stevens knows good isn’t good enough in this town.
 
“We’re here in Boston,” he said. “Winning is good, but hanging one of those (banners) up is what it’s all about. That’s what makes this such a special franchise.”
 
And for Stevens, a franchise where the expectations for success under his watch have never been greater than they are now.
 
Boston only returns one starter (Al Horford) from last year’s squad which advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after having won an East-best 53 games.
 
However, they added a pair of All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to join Horford. In addition, they drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
 
Boston also has a slimmed-down Marcus Smart (he lost 20 pounds from a year ago) as well Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier who will both benefit from having another NBA season under their belts.
 
And while it’s a small sample size and consists of just two teams (Philadelphia and Charlotte), the Celtics breezed their way through the preseason with a flawless 4-0 record which included at least one game in which they did not play their usual starters which shows how impactful their depth may be this season.
 
That success can only help, especially with a challenging schedule that includes seven of their first 11 games being on the road. 
 
Still, the potential of this Celtics team has never been greater than it is right now since Stevens took over in 2013.
 
And just like the increased expectations of the team, the same can be said for Stevens who is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA.
 
Marcus Morris will begin his first season with the Celtics, but had a lot of respect for Stevens well before he was traded to Boston from Detroit this summer.
 
“You hear a lot of good things about him from other players,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “And once you get in here and start working with him and seeing what he does every day, you see what they’re talking about. He’s a good coach, man.”
 
This team’s success will hinge on how the players perform, but there’s an added element of pressure on Stevens to find the right combinations that will position the Celtics for success.
 
“We have a lot more guys who can do a lot more things on the court, so it will be a little more challenging for us to figure out how to best play with each other, and for Brad to figure out which combinations are the best ones,” Boston’s Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “But we’ll figure it out. Brad’s a really good coach, a really smart coach. And on our team, we have a lot of players who are smart, high basketball I.Q. guys. We’ll be OK.”
 
Basketball smarts aside, the Celtics’ success will hinge heavily on how quickly they can bring a roster with 10 new players up to speed quickly.
 
It’s still early, but players like what they’ve seen from the collective body in terms of team chemistry.
 
“I think that’s the beauty of a lot of guys on the team,” said Gordon Hayward. “It’ll be different each night with some of the different roles we play.”
 
Which is why the Celtics, while lacking experience as a team because of so many new faces, are still seen as capable of winning because they have a number of players who can impact the game in many ways.
 
But as good as they are, it still comes back to Stevens doing a good job of putting them in the best positions to find success individually as well as for the Celtics team.
 
When you look at how time with Stevens jumpstarted Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s careers, or how it helped revitalize the career of Evan Turner, it’s obvious that he has the Midas touch when it comes to getting the most out of players.
 
For Boston to have the kind of success they believe they are due for, it’s going to take the contributions of many.
 
And even that might not be enough.
 
But having the path being bumpier than expected is something Stevens embraces.
 
“Here in this league,” he said. “You have to love challenges.”

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Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

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While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE